Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-echoes April 28, 2015

First performance with special effects.

Dry ice rises

from cardboard smoke stacks.

Audience gasps at the realism,

then the ice descends to the stage

and the singers gasp

and choke.

Always rehearse

the special effects first!

Don’t injure the imported talent

or the gratuitous local hacks!



I was watching Carmen from the Met on TV this weekend and was catapulted back in time to 1999 when I sang in the chorus of Carmen with the PG Symphony.  Conductor Paul Andreas Mahr brought in four rising stars to join the symphony’s first opera: Mezzo Caroline Menard, Soprano Renee Salewski, Tenor Lenard Whiting, and the delightful baritone Tyler Duncan, the home-town boy, whose wide open arms gave wonderful bear hugs at every opportunity.  It was a very fun production.  I had to look up the imported talent to see what they’re doing now.  Some exiting stuff!  I hunted all over for the photos of this, but can only find the news clippings.  I’ll keep looking, and update with photos when I find the right album.  My special claim to fame in this production was that 3 of us had a spotlight moment in a part originally meant for kids, except it was too late in the opera, and all good children needed to be home in bed.  No idea any more what I sang! 🙂


8 Responses to “poem-echoes”

  1. narble Says:

    Solid carbon dioxide can make it hard to find air.

  2. Yes, special effects must never injure the critics!

    • I remember, as a mere high school theatre director, how astonished I was that they were trying effects for the first time in performance. He kept adding props right to 2nd performance. Luckily no one was injured. The whole stage filled with fog, we couldn’t see, we were choking and coughing while we tried to sing… Funny in retrospect.

      It reiterated to me that my actors must ALWAYS have used the props and worked with effects for a few, if not many, rehearsals before a performance!

  3. Your performance memory is a strong one! That would be an exceptional experience. 🙂

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