Most embarrassing moment.... When asked this question, does anyone else completely blank out on the answer like I do? I mean, I know I've had plenty of embarrassment in my life, but nothing huge pops out at me.
Most of my embarrassment involves medically related things, of course.... colonoscopies and stool studies, anyone? ;) But the other day I was talking with my sister and it brought to my memory of our dress rehearsal of the musical we did my senior year in high school, Li'l Abner, by FAR my most favorite musical I've ever been in, and the funnest character I've EVER played!
My character was Mammy Yokum; "a scrawny, highly principled "sassiety" leader and bare knuckle "champeen" of the town of Dogpatch."
Play practices were long and grueling, and memorization was the absolute pits. I remember rehearsing lines and memorizing a couple of short scenes the day of our dress rehearsal. Talk about a panic! There were a few scenes I was completely uncomfortable with, but the day of our dress rehearsal finally came and we certainly had a lot of stressed out actors and actresses!
Despite my worries about the ability that we could pull our first performance off, rehearsal started out without a hitch! Everything was going really well, the audience was laughing, and most importantly, I was having so much fun which made it really easy for me to be in character.
About midway through the musical, I exited to stage left and went to the basement to change into my city clothes. I was rushing around and in a frantic because this was the quickest wordrobe change I had to do, I hardly had anytime, yet had a lot of things to do!
I pulled on my blouse and was getting ready to take off my pants and pull on my slacks when I hear hollers from back stage "Where is Nikki?! It's her cue!" I covered up and popped my head up the stairs and replied "No it's not, I'm not on 'til the next scene!" Throughout our extensive conversation about if I was supposed to be on stage again or not, I realized that the scene was not yet over!!
I had no idea what to do at that point. I was partially dressed -- half in my city clothes and half in my main wardrobe. I was panicking and realizing that I had to get out there as quickly as I could as the second part of that scene was fairly crucial leading into the next scene. I went ahead and "mostly" changed into my city clothes, yet had to resort to putting on my country boots, and leaving on my country leggings and such... I was trying to present myself the best that I could in the few seconds that I had to get out there! I rushed upstairs as I heard Sydney (Daisy Mae) say my cue for about the 5th time.
I ran through the other actors and slid out (literally), through the curtains, and onto the stage, exasperated and completely out of breath. The moment I reached the stage the entire audience started to laugh. I'm sure that my mismatched outfit, untied and flopping boots, as well as the stunned look on my face was quite a sight to behold! I tried to take a couple of seconds for my laughter to die down and so that I could compose myself and deliver the next line.... except I wasn't even sure what scene we were are, I had no idea what my next line even was!!
My ability (or very slim ability, rather) to ad-lib and improvise went completely out of the window. The laughter from the audience was starting to become completely infectious to all on stage, especially myself. I couldn't help but start to laugh uncontrollably, realizing how ridiculous I looked and trying to hide my mortification of the situation.
Understudies tried feeding my line to me, but I couldn't hear them. Sydney tried delivering it to me as well, but I was completely lost! My mother (who was the pianist for the musical) was hollering my lines out to me, but I still could not form together the sentence that was my next line. I was humiliated as I had no idea what to do in that moment. If I remember correctly a few lines were repeated over again, my line was fed to me, once again, and I finally picked up on where we were at in that scene and we were able to finish it with a few giggles throughout and a completely entertained audience.
I'm happy to say the rest of the dress rehearsal went by without any problems, and it was a very successful musical, all 3 performance nights. Looking back on it now, of course I could ad lib a few lines (which would also have delivered some laughs!), and I just laugh when I think about it and cherish the memories that came along with that one little mistake ;)