**Warning: This blog post contains pictures and descriptions which some may find disturbing. Others will laugh. Some won’t see what the big deal is. Any which way – you’ve been warned.**
I’ve never encountered a situation as an actor where I’ve had to ask myself, “Should we stop the show for this?” That is, until a fateful day at the end of February 2011…
We were scheduled to perform Mozart! (I’ve posted before about the production, a collaboration between Know Theatre and the Cincinnati Symphony, so I’ll save you on all the details about the show itself) once again at the end of the year’s shortest month and the remount wouldn’t be without new challenges. Our original Wolfgang, Joshua Murphy, had recently accepted an offer to do a show in upstate New York and would be unavailable for the sophomore performance. After a grueling and intensive search for a new Mozart, nearly culminating in a reality show competition that would have been been carried by Fox*, the decision was made that there was only one person who could dawn the green jacket of the child prodigy: Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier.
*This statement is false. At no time were we close to obtaining a television series on Fox. It was NBC.**
**This statement is also incorrect.
So with Eric on board and some musical changes to the show properly adjusted, we found ourselves once again on stage at majestic Music Hall. The performance was going swimmingly until our second montage of the show, wherein Mozart writes his Linz Symphony. This montage, originally set to the Rondo Alla Turca, was now set to Symphony #40 – a change in music that required a change in staging. The blocking now saw me following behind Eric as he flung pieces of musical staff paper into the air and I desperately tried to catch them. The first three papers gently glided within reach, easily snatched from flight, but on the fourth paper toss unpredictability and chaos took hold. As I shot my hand out to grab the sheet music it took a hairpin turn towards the front of the stage. I corrected course and leaned forward to catch the paper and prevent it from flying into the audience but this drastic change in my center of gravity proved to be too much; I fell forward and lowered my left hand to catch myself from falling. Instead of landing with my palm flat to the stage (the correct method of supporting one’s own bodyweight) I instead hit the stage with the full force driving my middle finger into the floor. The resulting action produced the following injury:
As you can see the upper section of my finger had been driven over top of the lower section. It’s like if your neighbor tried to park his car in your garage when your car was already in there – there’s nowhere to go but up and over. I immediately realized something was wrong but it wasn’t until getting offstage that I realized how distorted my finger looked.
“I think I broke my finger.” I said to Eric, managing to keep pretty cool as a the group of high school chorus members stood by awaiting their entrance.
“What?” Eric replied, appropriately confused about how I might have done such a thing.
“I think I broke my finger.”
“What do you want to do? Do we need to stop the show?”
“No, let’s just keep going.”
And keep going we did. In all honesty, it didn’t really hurt. It wasn’t painful so much as it was uncomfortable and stomach churning. When a body part all of a sudden loses the ability to be moved it causes some panic. I tried to save the panicking (and accompanying swearing) for when I was offstage, and looking at the following post-injury photos from the show you can tell I did a pretty good job:
I tried to keep my hand in my pocket as much as possible, and thankfully Eric and MJ were aware enough of the injury that choreography at the end of the production didn’t cause any further pain or discomfort.
After finishing the show it was off the to hospital to have them examine the finger, which turns out wasn’t actually broken – just severely dislocated. After some local anesthetic was applied my finger was popped back into place and splinted for about a week. A month out from the injury and my finger is pretty much back to normal and I’ve got a great little story to tell.
I hope no one throws up while reading this…