Non-uni performance disaster!

Here is what happened. My youth group produced a battle of the bands last night. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to open the show with some juggling. Like a MORON, I decided that I would just be able to do it improv. It was set to music, a techno dance beat, so i figured that I’d just do some contact juggling stuff, some multiball work, some toss, then clubs, cucumbers, then after chopping the cucumbers with the knives, I’d juggle them too.
D I S A S T E R ! ! !
I started out pretty strong, but then someone started playing with the lights. It got dark! I was ok for a bit, but I was yelling “TURN ON THE F***N LIGHTS YOU MORONS” They went on again, and just as they went on, my four ball a-sync tossing collapsed. As if that wasnt enough, they were acrylic. They hit eachother, and flew in all directions. After gathering them again, with some help, I began some 3 ball tossing and palm spinning. that went on just fine. I picked up my clubs, and did some club swinging, and did a kick up with the third right on queue with a pause in the music. dod some of that stuff, till a club colided with another. Got the cucumbers, and began to juggle. After that I took one cuc, and diced it with my knives. As I started to juggle the knives, GUESS what. The lights turned down again. NOT FUN WHEN JUGGLING KNIVES. I ended up dropping them (very embarassing). I told the DJ to cut the music, and I went home, missing the rest of the show, and all the bands.
I was so embarassed.
Moral: coreograph your show.
-David Kaplan

I’d say the moral of the story is to learn knife throwing before you next do knife jugging in public.

Challenge the smart arse to stand holding the cucumber outstretched in front piece of two by four. They won’t back down because all their mates will be egging them on.

Throw a knife cutting the cucumber and embedding itself into the wood. Turn around and announce that that was just a warm up. Make the offender stand akimbo. Place a blindfold on them but position it badly so that they can still see downward.

Hang a small gerkin from a short string down from their belt and between their legs. THEN tell them you are going to do the trick with all the lights off this time. Pretend to notice that the blindfold is on wrong and go over to fix it making sure that they now can’t see at all.

Here’s where the fun starts. Place a thick wooden board behind the victim and hand a large metal weight to an accomplice. Keep chatting to cover all this. Give the gerkina quick tug to make sure it’s secure enough, tell them the string is still to short and pretend to shorten it even more, but make sure the gerkin still swings free. Get the accomplice to crouch down behind the victim next to the cucumber but not touch it.

Now ask for all the lights to be switched off. Build up the tension. and then yell, THREE, TWO, ONE. The accomplice tugs the cucumber down and backward slightly and then drops the weight. Lights snap on.

Victim jumps three foot in the air and it’s instant brown trousers. If not, the victim feels a damn fool that they’ve been had in front of all their mates.

It takes preparation to pull a gag like this off but it’ll make sure no-one will dare switch the lights off again.

RE: Non-uni performance disaster!

> cuc, and diced it with my knives. As I started to juggle the knives,
> GUESS what. The lights turned down again. NOT FUN WHEN

Take your knives up to have a conversation with the guy working the lights.
Preferrably before the show.

> Moral: coreograph your show.

Yup. If you’re going in front of a big audience, only do what you know.


Re: Non-uni performance disaster!

My condolences to you for having to experience that in front of an
audience. It’s time like that that perhaps jokes and a big smile are
even more useful than usual.

Unfortunately, there are very few people out there who even think
about what may or may not put off a circus-arts performer, let alone
actually equate that knowledge into “ooh, i better make sure th
elighting guy doesn’t fiddle with stuff while the poor guy is

It’s really up to us (as you already commented) to educate those in
the know.

The major ones I now keep an eye on is;

  1. The performance before you. how many there are, if they will leave
    any mess or substance on the stage, etc etc
  2. finding out where the lights are that will be on you, as there is
    always some strong bright lights that can temporarily blind you enough
    to mess up the routine if they are in the wrong place.
  3. The lighting is either completely static until you leave the
    stage, or if complicated, have a friend (accomplice!!) next to the
    console helping to making sure the guy gets his timing and
    instructions right.
  4. And how high the stage is, to recover props should the accasion
    rise. This can be solved by having more props than needed, as it
    improves the flow of the show.

These four are the my un-negotiable requirements for a stage show, of
course there are lots more, especially when using the
almost-always-safe fire props :slight_smile:

Once again, my commiserations, but it all helps as a way to make the
next time a much better one.

Keep on trucking…

Charles Dolbel (AKA INFERNO)

Hey I just saw a very similiar story posted to rec.juggling :slight_smile:

I think you’re making it out to be worse than it really was. You were juggling knives. That’s cool on just about any level. How many people in your youth group can say that, eh?

Yep, that was a copy of this one.
-David Kaplan