Just Mean

Every time I write the date today (which, as a legal secretary I do a lot because I take a *lot* of messages) I am reminded that it’s Misha’s birthday. It’s funny because I probably haven’t seen him in at least 5 years. We were in a show together, during which he hooked up with my best friend, but I used to see him around Ren Faire and Dickens Fair for several years after. I think I only remember his birthday because it’s a month to the day after hers. But it reminds me of a really mean joke we played on him once.
It was October of 1995. Val and I were doing tech for Pippin at Palo Alto Players, and house-sitting for friends of my family in the Pescadero hills. They had this great house on top of a hill, no neighbors within earshot… it was fabulous fun for the two of us when we stayed there. Somehow, after the show on Saturday night, we ended up visiting friends in South San Francisco and kidnapping our friend Misha for the night. Misha and Val were, well… they never dated, but they were FWB on and off for several months. It was his birthday, and she wanted to, er, help him celebrate. So he came back to the house with us.
We had a matinee of Pippin the next day, in Palo Alto, and had to deliver Misha to his home in San Francisco before the show, so we had to leave the house pretty early. We were supposed to be at the theater at 1, for a 2pm show, and there was easily 2 hours of driving required to get us there. Misha didn’t want to wake up, and resisted our every attempt, so we devised a bit of an evil wake up call. Not water, not letting the dog jump on him, not smacking him in the face with a broom- no, we came up with an evil that only musical theatre buffs would come up with.
You see, these friends of my family had a rockin’ stereo system, and we, being the musical theater nerds we were, (well, are,) had a Phantom of the Opera CD. Raise your hands if you know where this is going.
We cued up the CD to a very certain spot, turned the volume to 11, and then ran outside onto the porch and activated the CD player via remote control. A blood curdling scream ripped through the house and the surrounding redwoods.
From our vantage point on the porch, we could see into the bedroom well enough to see Misha fairly well levitate a good three feet off the bed, land on his feet and come tearing out of the bedroom searching for the source of the scream, assuming of course that it was Val screaming. Finally he noticed the pounding organ music coming from the stereo and just stood there looking baffled. Once he figured out what we had done, he was none too happy, but at least he was up.
We all got ready and piled into the car. The map below shows the driving Val had to do that morning. (Yes, we were crazy.) We didn’t leave the house til after 11 though. We got Misha dropped off in the city at the time we were supposed to be at the theater in Palo Alto. Val got a speeding ticket within sight of the exit we needed to take to get there. We tore into the theater toward the dressing rooms at 1:48. People were freaking out trying to figure out how they were going to do the show with only one spot operator and no one on the flyrail. Oops.