Mon 15 Sep 2008
Being a stagehand working on daytime television results in some really improbable situations. I lived out one sparkling example a while back.
Now, the location of the studio where the show is taped is no secret, and just about every day finds a few people sitting outside trying to get an autograph or a photo with someone on the show. And even if you happen to see no one directly outside the studio, you might find yourself behind someone at the local supermarket buying a sandwich to eat while they’re waiting for their favorite actor or actress to leave the building.
Anyway, a bunch of us went out to lunch at a local restaurant in the middle of a long day. There were six stagehands in all, mostly big, burly guys, all wearing black, mostly covered in tattoos. Basically, we look like bikers. We’re all friendly and quick to laugh and joke around, but just seeing us on the street? People tend to curve around us as we’re walking down the block.
We go into the restaurant, a local place that we all go to pretty often. We seated ourselves, moving together two tables in the back and squeaking our chairs across the wood floors. Three older women were seated to one side of us, talking somewhat loudly as they waited for their lunch.
Sitting there for a moment, it quickly became obvious that they had been sitting outside the studio and were now taking a break for lunch. My friend, an older guy who is always looking to start a little trouble, was sitting directly across the table from me. We were sitting closest to the ladies, and could clearly hear what they were saying. I kicked him under the table and, catching his eye, motioned with my head for him to shut up and listen to what they were talking about, which was the show.
I should say at this point that we spend 15 hours a day sitting watching soaps. And I don’t mean that we park ourselves in front of soapnet. I’m saying that stagehands know the soap(s) they work on inside and out….who uses what phone, what their sheets look like, what order the contents of their closets should be in, and who sleeps on what side of the bed. They know the plot, too, much to all of our eternal chagrin. We’re not necessarily interested, but it’s our business to know.
So when we overheard the women at the next table talking and getting one woman’s name wrong, my mischevious, tattooed, bearded friend couldn’t resist. He leaned over, waiting until one of them noticed him and literally jumped in her chair.
“I couldn’t help but overhear.”
“I couldn’t help but overhear what you were saying, and I just wanted to remind you that it’s not Rebecca who’s with Jason, it’s Racquel. It was Rebecca who was cheating on Racquel with Roberto.”
She looked utterly shocked. What the hell was this Hell’s Angel lookin character talking about?
“I just wanted to make sure that you were waiting for the right actor,” he said. “You had the plot mixed up a little, and if you were waiting for the actress who plays Rebecca, she’s not taping today.”
Clearly she wasn’t prepared for this. Is anyone? When you go to see the Little Mermaid on Broadway, do you expect the main lavender seashell to be moved around by a 250 lb badass?
Of course not. But more often than not, that’s who we are.