Dramatic things happened today at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival.
I was doing the 6pm performance of my show Alien of Extraordinary Ability while it rained outside. About two thirds of the way through the one-hour show, the room started flooding. It wasn’t a lot of flooding, but the front section of the audience floor was definitely filling up with water. Clearly it had been raining more heavily than we’d realised.
We paused the show. Was there any danger? Did we need to evacuate? A quick discussion ensued between myself, the audience, and Chelsey the tech manager. Everyone decided that while the water was clearly going to keep filling the room, it was doing it slowly enough that we could finish the show. Some people moved from the deepest flooded area to drier seats at the back. Others stayed right where they were, and just put their feet up on seats to stay dry.
Of all the compliments I’ve received in my career, a collective cry of “Yes, we will sit in progressively deeper water to watch the last third of your show” is definitely one of the more heartfelt ones.
We finished the show. It was hampered by a few flood-related hiccups, but enhanced by many flood-related jokes, both from myself and the audience. By the end, the entire room was ankle-deep in water. As we finished and began the evacuation, some of the audience climbed over chairs to reach the exit, while others removed their shoes and elected to wade.
Thank you to Chelsey for her professionalism, and to the audience for sticking with me to the end! Next time we’ll try for a tornado warning.