So I was at rehearsal the other night, rehearsing my death scene (as one does if one is in an opera), and I decided that it was time for a good prank. Death scenes are such downers, and we needed to lighten the mood, especially after hours and hours of tiring rehearsal. So when I died, I decided to play dead.
Now yes, I know that technically this is not much of a prank, because I was supposed to be playing dead, but I really went for it. I lay motionless, slowing my breathing, and was completely still for five or six minutes, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, was a huge accomplishment. The director and the other cast members stood over my body, talking about how to react to finding me dead in the woods. There was a note that they needed to find, pinned to my shirt, so they bent down and took it, and then bent down to put it back. They continued to fuss around me, setting things here and there, all while I just lay there, waiting for my moment to strike.
When enough time had passed for them to basically forget I was a human being and not a stage prop, I made my move. The director stepped back to assess the situation while the chorus stood on the sides of the stage, waiting for the music to start. The room was listless and silent. My fellow singer leaned over one last time to put the note back into position for the scene, at which point I jumped up quickly, grabbed his arm, and shouted “BRAINS!”
I would like to apologize for almost killing my fellow singer, because I think he about went through the roof. The whole room jumped, as I attempted to gnaw on my friend’s arm. I know that this is not technically where the brains are, but zombies are not that smart. It was an excellent joke that led to discussions of a possible sequel to the opera, starring all of the dead characters as zombies, coming back to eat the folks who had managed to escape the original show unharmed. This, I think, would be an excellent idea for most operas actually. I am surprised that someone has not already done this. Opera composers, get on this. Zombie sequels. Make it happen.
We did manage to get back to rehearsing eventually, so that was good, but my co-star also vowed to get revenge on me for scaring the high “C”s out of him, so that’s not so good. Now I have to be on my guard. Anyway, this is just to say that if you are ever in a long rehearsal and you get the chance to pretend to be a zombie by suddenly attacking your unsuspecting fellow singers, I say go for it. And now I have to go back and finish memorizing the score. See you opening night. And watch your brains.
(Image Credit: Alastair Muir)