adrian is rad



Filed under: — adrian @ 12:17 pm

During all my years of high school, I played trumpet in the pit orchestra for the high school musical. Much of the time was boring and we were under-recognized for our tremendous skill. We were also some of the only people to see the musical in its entirety many times—many of the leads and chorus members only saw the scenes they were in—to the point where we knew all the lines and scenes in the musical, putting us in a unique position to make fun of it.

An that’s what we did. Jeff Miller and Colin Ashe, still friends of mine, started with a small-scale parody of Cinderella. The following year was the first real Pit Skit with Toilet Paper Man, a parody of Music Man, where a man comes to town to try to sell toilet paper to the people. The next years were Brig-a-Mart, a story of a Canadian convenience store that was stuck 10*pi years behind, a parody of Brigadoon and Joseph (or was Jorje) and his Amazing Techinocolor Pimpcoat, where I played the lead, a parody of, well you should figure that one out by now. The three that I did (Toilet Paper Man was the first) were a lot of fun. We wrote and rehearsed these two-act, 20-30 minute elaborate skits complete with props, a program, and plenty of sexual innuendo. They were performed over two nights at the pre-show meeting. We regularly would have to ask people to not laugh as much because we didn’t have that much time and they were missing our other funny lines.

What got me thinking about all this was a scene from Brig-a-Mart that still makes me smile. In Brigadoon, there was a scene in which the guy from the present is talking to one of the stuck-300-years-in-the-past Scottish ladies that goes something like this:

him: are you crazy?!
her: what is ‘crazy’?
him: insane.

And Brig-a-Mart, we had it like this:

him: are you nuts?
a guy-dressed-as-a-girl: what is ‘nuts’?
him [hands her a dictionary]: here’s a frickin’ dictionary. look it up!
a guy-dressed-as-a-girl [flips to page]: oh, I see, ‘testicles’.

The guy was played by Jimmy Cramer and the guy-dressed-as-a-girl by one of the best to ever play such a part, Pat Bird.

I should also mention that we didn’t rehearse with props. I would go around my house the night before and collect props. Sometimes we would forget about a prop and just fake it.

This all leads up to how the above scene played out during the perfomance. Pat and Jimmy were going along with the scene. I realized that the dictionary was still in the prop bag still. I reached into the bag and grabbed it. Jimmy’s facing me and Pat away from me. Let’s see how it turns out:

Jimmy: Are you nuts?
[I make eye contact with Jimmy and indicate the dictionary]
Pat: What is ‘nuts’?
[I toss the book. It makes a perfect parabolic arc over Pat’s head, clearing it by a couple inches. Jimmy snatches it out of the air just as he’s beginning to say:]
Jimmy: Here’s a frickin dictionary. Look it up!

I couldn’t have planned it better. I still smile thinking about it.

Any other USC HS people have fun Pit Skit memories?

5 Responses to “Brig-a-Mart”

  1. Em Says:

    When I was in pit orchestra I always found it frustrating that I _never_ got to see the show. It was always going on above and behind me, and though I learned all the tunes I never learned any of the words. I’d have all this music stuck in my head, but be reduced to humming it. Ugh.

  2. Adrian Says:

    Brass parts tended to be very wait-for-128-bars-and-play-2-bars, so I had plenty of time to watch the musical unfold. Now that I’m thinking about, It seems like the pit skits were fairly brass-heavy.

  3. Jeff Says:

    I don’t mean to nit-pick too much, but the first pit skit (Melancholy about Musical, a semi-parody of Cinderella) was entirely my idea, though I did hand pick a select few to be the cast.
    The next year, I decided to increase the cast and ask the assistance of a second main script writer / plot developer, Jimmy Cramer.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Also, the 2nd skit was actually just called ‘The Toilet Man’. It is true that he sold toilet paper, but in order to make the name as similar to ‘The Music Man’, we sacrificed specificity.

  5. Adrian Says:

    You got me, Jeff!

    I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t your idea. Just, as I remember it, it was something that you and Colin did. (Oh yeah, and Mike Byrne).

    You nitpick too much. You’re supposed to write about some funny pit skit memory of your own.

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