April 04, 2009


I have confessed how I can get when accidents happen during live performances. I am comforted by the fact that author Kurt Vonnegut was the same way.

By Kurt Vonnegut, from his book Timequake:

That the impulse to laugh at healthy people who nonetheless fall down is by no means universal, however, was brought to my attention unpleasantly at a performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet in London, England... A ballerina, dancing on her toes, went deedly-deedly-deedly into the wings as she was supposed to do. But then there was a sound backstage as though she had put her foot in a bucket and then gone down an iron stairway with her foot still in the bucket.

I instantly laughed like hell.

I was the only person to do so.

A similar incident happened at a performance of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra when I was a kid. It didn't involve me, though, and it wasn't about laughter. There was this piece of music that was getting louder and louder, and that was supposed to stop all of a sudden.

There was this woman in the same row with me, maybe ten seats away. She was talking to a friend during the crescendo, and she had to get louder and louder, too. The music stopped. She shrieked, "I FRY MINE IN BUTTER!"

It has been almost two years since the death of Kurt Vonnegut. I'm still sad that there won't be more books from him.


Mrs. Denneldoff said...

This is so funny! This incident has become a part of ISO lore, but it's great to hear from the audience perspective!

Mrs. Denneldoff said...

Now I feel stupid--that wasn't you writing, but a quote from Vonnegut! Sorry.

Calamity Jen said...

I've never been to Indianapolis. My personal experience is here: http://calamityjenni.blogspot.com/2008/03/balcony-man-apologies-to-chick-corea.html

P.S. Welcome to my blog!

Rob K said...

I grew up reading Vonnegut and I miss his work.

I can only imagine what he'd have to say about the last 8 years of Bush in the White House.

Mike M said...

Now this is funny!!

I hope you come by and visit my new blog:

alan said...

The parts of me I've fried, be it in butter or olive oil, still haven't convinced me to get dressed before I venture into the kitchen!

I'm glad my children are smarter than me!


Tea and Margaritas in My Garden said...

Happy Easter :)


libby said...

Re-reading the experience you and Scott had at Massy Hall and then reading Mr. Vonnegut's annecdote, made my day! (Deedly-deedly-deedly!) I laughed out loud and could feel the juicy endorphins being released. Thanks once again, Jenni, for brightening my day.

BTW - Incidentally, I am related by marriage to Kurt Vonnegut. My uncle is married to his neice.