The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

by Hazel Girolamo

Saturdays matinee performance of Tosca, had the audience ducking for cover when a fight broke out right on stage by the two principal leads. Tensions were already evident when the fiery heroine of the aforementioned opera, played by Beryl Cambridge and her onstage lover Mario, a debut performance by Stephen Fyshwick, steeped onto the stage. Stephen, was a last minute replacement for renowned local tenor Kenneth Allenby who had a nasty costume malfunction when he slipped his codpiece and his understudy, Robert Cambridge, having sustained a skateboarding injury despite being warned repeatedly by his Aunty Beryl, who insisted a neck brace and crutches would only enhance and engage the audiences emotions, were in her own words, scornfully dismissed by the director. Stephen in his enthusiasm, waved his hands around as if he was conducting the orchestra, accidentally brushed Beryl's ample cleavage and one of Stephen's digits got entwined with one of the several strands of pearl around Beryl's neck.

Unfortunately, this incident occurred at that dramatic moment in the opera where Tosca throws herself off the castle battlements with a heart rendering shriek her death which was echoed by Stephen, who found himself inadvertively following her over the battlements as well.

Fortunately, stagecraft being what it is, there was no great distance to fall but the audience was treated to the sight of Stephen's tunic flapping, albeit in time to the music, with his legs semaphoring wildly. He continued to sing his part, the muffling of the sound adding an eerie cadence to his solo when a loud snap and a cluster of tiny but clearly audible drops were heard as Beryl's pearls broke free.

Tosca, at this point is never heard from again, but here she was not only heard from but clearly seen as her hand came back over the battlements to make contact with Stephen's face and pushed him unsteadily back onto his feet. The music swelled, as did Stephen's finger, still tightly encircled in Beryl's necklace, like a prawn in a net. His painful rendition of the final aria, will surely never be bettered. Stephen while enjoying a standing ovation, received a very special, size eleven sequined clodhopper to his derriere, courtesy of Beryl and ended up astern in the orchestra pit. An encore performance, scheduled for next week has been postponed due to concussion, several black eyes and injured pride.

Auditions will be held instead.