The Cascadia Company had had plenty of accidents over the years, and much as the tried to maintain a high standard for community theater some mishaps were bound to occur.

There was the time that the fire escape set had collapsed during dress rehearsals for West Side Story, largely thanks to Debbie Hannover’s insistence that it be made out of real metal. No one was injured, but the scene wound up being played on a stepladder opening night.

Then there was the Cascadia Festival performance of Twelfth Night where the swordfight between “Cesario” and Sir Andrew Aguecheek ended with Bryan Culbert getting swatted with a blunt prop sword and breaking his nose. To his credit, he delivered his subsequent lines even as fresh blood soaked through his white gloves and even worked references to the injury into his dialogue. The show must go on, after all, even if you must be rushed to the hospital afterwards.

And who could forget the time that the pyrotechnic charges in Godspell (don’t ask) accidentally caught Harry Plover, playing Jesus Christ, on fire. They stopped the performance for that one, even though Harry escaped with only second-degree burns and managed to get off a very funny line about knowing how the burning bush felt.

Those had all entered the lore of the Cascadia Company, passed down as older members retired and new high school seniors or starry-eyed Osborn University undergrads rose up to take their place. No matter how badly someone missed their cue or how sour that last note of Oklahoma! sounded, they said, it could never get any worse.

Of course, that was before Carl Weisschrift died of a myocardian infarction onstage as King Lear.

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