Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Bear Jumped Over The Moon

Photo by Bruce Challgren:

It's a big responsibility performing a well-known story such as Goodnight Moon in front of children. Most of them know every word by heart. Playing the Old Lady Bunny a few months ago, I began to recite the beloved words: "In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of ..."

And that's when it happened! In that moment, I couldn't remember which animal jumped over the moon! The whole show is made up of animals. There is the mouse, the dog, the cat, the COW and of course the main character, the Little Bunny. In my defense, right before I began my lines, something had fallen. It was loud. I was momentarily distracted and concerned that someone might have been hurt. Also, you must know that the boy who played the cow also played one of the three bears.

Regardless, what came out of my mouth was: "In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of the bear jumping over the moon." To add insult to injury, the lights came up on the picture for all to see of the cow jumping over the moon. (See above photo.)

There was a pregnant pause. Some whispers in the audience. I can only imagine what the children were saying. "Mommy, is that a bear?" "Daddy, the cow jumped over the moon, right?" Or more likely: "That lady doesn't know what the heck she's talking about!"

It's amazing what the mind goes through in just a matter of seconds. I thought: "Should I tell the Little Bunny that of course I meant to say: "Cow" and not "Bear?" Should I refer to the bear as a cow for the rest of the show for consistency? Should I stop the show and make an announcement? All actors know this feeling - it's aptly called the Actor's Nightmare.

Of course the show always must go on. And it did. Quite nicely, thank you. But I never lived it down. Every time the cast did a microphone check prior to one of our shows, someone would say: "And the bear jumped over the moon!" Great laughter followed. Of course, I was always afraid that I would say the line wrong again. I would sit in my rocking chair at the beginning of each show and say the line correctly over and over again like a mantra. Luckily, I got it right for the rest of the performances.

But really, if you think about it, a bear does have about as much of a chance to jump over the moon as a cow does...


terri said...

You've got my eternal admiration, simply for having the guts to get on stage and perform. To be able to get past a mispoken line took incredible poise. And you're a trooper for putting up with all the ribbing that followed.

I was once asked to do a reading in a wedding. I nearly refused out of sheer terror of getting up and speaking in front of people. In the end, my love for the bride and groom won out over my need to succomb to my stage fright, but the minutes it took to do the reading were the longest minutes of my life.

No, you have NOTHING to be embarassed about.

Mermaid Queen said...

I love this story Jennifer! I think it probably took a lot for the kids on stage not to bust up laughing. And yes, your last line cracked me up, a bear really does have as much chance as a cow getting over the moon!
Love you,

Sarah said...

this is one great post.. You should consider networking with the moms in the bizymoms Milpitas community, i am sure they will just love it.

hyacinthgirl said...

In your defense... I seem to remember a performance of 891 when you were supposed to have a scene with a "certain actor" (in parenthesis to protect the innocent) and that "certain actor" was so busy running around changing costumes that he FORGOT that he was supposed to be onstage at that moment in a scene with you...

Tthe lights went up and you were onstage all by yourself and yet, had the presence of mind to simply pick up the phone and just DO that scene as a phone conversation!!!


LOVE The Bear Story!---but you are much more "on your feet" than you give yourself credit for here!

Miss you and thanks for the link!


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