By Kipp Miller
Students rehearsing Lyric Theatre's "She Loves Me" rushed to the Rupp basement on a January night after an onstage prop pool for "Metamorphoses" burst. In full costumes and makeup, performers bailed water and rushed costumes to dry rooms.
While Lyric Theater was preparing for "She Loves Me", the theatre department had been practicing Mary Zimmerman's "Metamorphoses" in Mitchell Theatre. "Metamorphoses" is a play adapted from the poem of the same name by the Roman poet Ovid. The play consists of several Greek and Roman myths, each of which utilizes an onstage pool.
The pool was filled Thursday, Jan. 24. At 11 p.m., Technical Director Terrance Volden was about to leave for the night when he heard the sound of rushing water.
A stud supporting the pool twisted and broke, releasing its contents. Water leaked down under the stage into the Rupp basement, which holds the theater's costume shop and makeup room.
Volden ran to the Recital Hall where Lyric Theatre was rehearsing to get help. Some students grabbed paint-covered pails to scoop water into five-gallon buckets and plastic bins, while others dumped the buckets and bins outside or down the changing room shower drains.
Even people with no connection to the theatre program came to help their fellow students. Junior Benj Morris went to Samuel Morris Hall to gather help, while Senior Emma Wagoner collected students that were in the hallways of Rupp and Smith-Hermanson.
As the water went down, students used tote lids like squeegees to keep the water localized while others continued to bail.
"I think the most incredible part of this story is how people came from all across campus . . . to help when the pool broke," Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and "Metamorphoses" Director Tracy Manning said.
The water was mostly cleaned up around midnight when the recruits started returning to their dorms. Lyric Theatre students went back to the Recital Hall where they prayed. The "Metamorphoses" staff continued to clean until 2:30 a.m. and left blower fans to finish the job.
Following the burst, the cast took three to four days to reorganize the costume shop and classrooms.
Volden and freshman Hailey Hamilton, who is the master carpenter for the theatre, redesigned the pool with extra layers, more studs, anchors into the concrete subfloor and other safety measures.
"The math was done by our designer to find the exact amount of pressure at any given point and the structure was engineered to withstand a minimum of twice that amount," Volden said.
Rehearsal has resumed for "Metamorphoses" and the show is back on track. The play will run Feb. 22-24 and Mar. 1 through 3.