The Right Question

Setting:  The Auditorium.  Two weeks until the musical (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).  I’m running rehearsal.  Andrew, who plays Chip, runs up to me at the front of the stage.

ANDREW:  Waterhouse, do we have any saws here?

ME: Um… not really.  We have one, but the teeth are like this.  I weave my fingers together to show the bent and broken state of our tool.

ANDREW:  Huh.  Okay.

He runs away.  I turn my attention back to the stage.  Soon there are loud wooden noises coming from backstage.  I realize he must be working on building the usherette tray he needs for a prop.  I glow with pride that my students are so well-trained they use their off-stage moments to work on the show.  Then, as I hear the sound of a saw.  Hoo boy.

ME: Yelling off-stage  Andrew, are you wearing eye protection?

ANDREW: Yelling from backstage  Yes!

I turn back to rehearsal as Heidi walks out from backstage to pick up her water.

HEIDI:  That’s not the question you should ask.

Everyone looks at her, then looks at me.  A loud wooden “Bang!” sounds from off-stage.

ME:  What question should I ask?

Heidi walks backstage again.  I yell after her.


Joe can’t resist.  He runs backstage.

JOE: Overheard from off-stage  Oh, jeez.

Joe runs back out.

JOE: You should ask if he’s using Matthew’s legs as a sawhorse.


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