by Dan Leo
illustrated by konrad kraus and rhoda penmarq
Mr. Y’s entire life was a piece of
underground performance art
and so it was no great leap really when
he became an actor.
One time he played Banquo in Macbeth
(known in the theatre world as the bad luck play,
a play even the title of which
must not ever be spoken,
lest calamity ensue)
and on the last night of the run
after finishing his last scene
he yanked off his false beard and his wig,
wiped the spirit gum and make-up from his face,
changed into his street clothes,
and sat down in his dressing room chair
with a can of beer,
waiting for the play to end
so he could go out to the bar
with the rest of the cast.
Imagine his surprise
when the stage manager
came in and yelled:
“Mr. Y! What are you doing?
You’re on again in two minutes!”
Mr. Y had forgotten he had
one more scene to do.
Desperately he put down his beer,
Stripped off some of his street clothes,
threw on some of his costume,
slapped some spirit gum onto his face along with
some tufts of fake beard, clapped on his wig,
poured some fake blood over his head,
then ran out onto the stage,
and played the scene.
The audience was appalled and moved
by the horrible frightening spectre
of Banquo’s ghost.
Then Mr. Y went backstage,
pulled off the ragged tufts of beard
and the wig, wiped off the spirit gum and fake blood,
changed his clothes,
and finished his
can of beer.
I've known people who believed the play was bad luck but didn't know saying the title was bad. From now on, I won't. Banquo, Mr. Y.
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