What is an understudy in theatre-speak?
A person who learns another's role to be able to act at short notice in their absence due to illness, injury or an emergency. What happens if the nature of an actor's role is such that their talent and expertise is intrinsic to the performance and can't be covered by anyone else?
This was the case with Tom Flannigan in Kaput, one of our 2019 Season shows scheduled for 12 October.
Kaput is a family show with a particular brand of slapstick, acrobatics and mayhem. The clumsy Mr Fix-it performs leaps, tumbles and tricks with the show. Sadly, in one performance he was a millisecond out and injured his ankle.
His injury could have made the show well and truly kaput (sorry, that was lame) but with surgery and rehabilitation booked in, the Dubbo performance was postponed to November 9 It was then deemed that the optimistic physical theatre performer required a longer recovery period post-op, the show was rescheduled to Thursday 19 December.
There is a clause in most contracts about the inability to perform where 'the Producer will use their best endeavours to reschedule the performances at a time that is not disadvantageous to the Presenter and the Presenter agrees to use their best endeavours to accommodate any rescheduled performances'.
We are grateful to the empathetic and gracious patrons we contacted, not once, but twice to reschedule. Patrons expressed their heartfelt good wishes to Tom for a speedy recovery. You can imagine how immensely disappointed Tom was.
So what happens behind the scenes to get to this point of a newly agreed date? Firstly, that Tom is fit and well and available, that the pianist is also free to do the gig, travel and freight can be re-negotiated and that the itinerary works with other rescheduled venues.
What about here at DRTCC? Box Office staff smile, take a deep breath and methodically contact all patrons offering an exchange or a refund, putting new date stickers on flyers and posters, updating all electronic and print media where possible. The show must go on!
There will be a little treat for each child after the performance as they leave the Theatre doors - it's our way of saying, sorry for the inconvenience, Happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you at Dubbo Regional Theatre again!