There have been plenty of OMGWTFBBQPOLARBEAR moments and maybe I’ll write about them-like the time that within 30 seconds of setting up the tent it was smashed to pieces against a building-but today I’ll share some funny ones.

Why won’t you burn?!!! Or Whoah…!
As people who do a fire show, it’s a challenge to come up with new and interesting ways to make a show last longer or be different from others. First, it has to burn for a bit. We make a bunny out of various materials (it was for a fire safety speech at a particular show –they didn’t get “Fire is bad, M’kay?”) but when it went up, it wouldn’t catch and then *whoosh* away with Mr. Bun. And the crowd reaction was “Burn more bunnies!” so you can only do so much.

There were the fire horns…there is only a tiny picture of this because it lasted a very short time. We did a beautiful set of spiral horns, set on the Kevlar and “whoosh” just two big fireballs to either side of Fenix’s head. We never did use those in performance. (The only photo of this)

fire_horns Fire sword-we had one that didn’t do well with the changing temperatures and at one show it bent into a ‘u’ and was wielded by our “villain.” He was able to hit it back semi-straight but at that point-integrity unknown! So I had to run out with a duvatyne and grab it out of his hands. Still in character, he pulled back, finally I used his real name, kicked his shin was able to get it offstage and his partner was ‘victorious.’ To the audience it looked like someone he’d defeated earlier came on and stole his sword, never realizing that I was making sure shards of flaming metal didn’t get sheared off into the crowd!
Another thing that burns when you don’t want it to is marshmallows. Except as part of a fire show. We soaked them in fuel, we bought various kinds of marshmallows, but they remained intact. We even did a set soaked in peach brandy. That failed. But it was a beautiful, tasty failure and we still make them occasionally for ourselves.

These little lovelies are their own set of problems. I’ve had so many issues with daggers being where I need them that I make it a point to tell anyone using them in a show that they need to have alternate plans in place. For me it has been-fallen out of someone’s side sheath and we had to use an improvisational dagger. I’ve had mine taken when someone forgot their own for stage and had to wrestle it back for my own fight. Or the ever popular-stuck in the frog or belt at a key moment.

Fenix-couldn’t get to his dagger fast enough so had to use a crab puppet to hold off his opponent until he could free it.
Monica had hers drop out of a boot so had to use hair extensions to strangle her opponent

I had to sit still while someone used use a long knife and had to park it in my cleavage for laughs (the bloody one never came out on stage, it had fallen out of its spot)

Guns, many of our members over the years have loved these but they never make the correct cues. The only time it worked in our favor is when one fellow was teased mercilessly by kids in the crowd about it not going off and that it was a “fake” gun. So he packed extra for the finale and so, *click, click, KABOOM* And no one said anything because we all couldn’t hear. We try not to use them. And I have a bias against cannons.

General Props-oh the tales. The lost ball for the “Princess and the Frog,” skit. Substituted fire bucket-turns out someone ‘played’ with the ball earlier and didn’t put it back. The person who had ONE JOB and yet failed to bring the one item onstage and we had to invent a reason to “fight.” I love props but realize they are just another opportunity for things to go sideways at a show. For me, if my work does not include a kit I’ve examined myself, I’m not interested in doing the show because it’s a pet peeve.

What is the take-away? the more you work with your audience and general talents, the better it will work out for you in the long-term. And although it may make for funny stories (later), ideally you want to look smooth, be safe and not have to improvise or flail with a found object! But training and practice makes sure that you can.