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Oops!

posted by Megan Wygant on Wed, Mar 4, 2009
in At the theatre

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We all make mistakes--and this week, it looks like I made a doozy.

Actually, I didn't make it this week -- that train left the station in early February. But I found out about it this week, and that's what really matters.

As I've mentioned before, one of my main responsibilities is to edit the program you receive each time you come to the Theatre. It is a massive undertaking. (We're in the thick of things for The Lieutenant of Inishmore right now actually, which means that I'm convinced that this will be the time we don't make the deadline and all of you will be handed photocopied-and-stapled flyers when you come to see the show next month.) But, amazingly, we always do make it--and all the fuss is absolutely worth it in that first moment when I take the published program into my hand.

The first skim through the program is all about enjoying the ride. Our art director, Cheshire, and his sidekick, Abby, do a really good job of making the words of all the program writers look fantastic on the page--and seeing it in a glossy magazine is so different than the black and white printouts that I proof.

I've read these articles at least 10 times apiece; the writers and I have haggled over punctuation and phrasing (we all have very particular ideas about how a story should sound); and I've personally checked each i and t to make sure it's been dotted and crossed--but seeing the program in its entirety is like seeing it all for the very first time.

Unfortunately, seeing it for the first time means that I see the things that I missed. Usually it's a missing space, or a spot where "there" got mixed with "their." But sometimes, while proofing, I get so wrapped up in the trees that I miss the forest entirely. And it's in this first read-through that those errors jump out, hit me in the face, and then run around my head laughing about the futility of proofreading.

That's what happened this week with the Crime and Punishment program. The show opens tonight, and there's a pretty big goober on the title page (of course, it couldn't be some page in the back of the book that everyone skips over, oh no.)

So let's play a little game: what's wrong with this picture?

CP title page

I'm not the only one who spotted this error at the office, but let me just spell it out for those of you at home: the first production of this show was at the Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, in May 2003. That's five years ago. So, yeah, our show? Not the world premiere.

This is actually what we would call a Very Big Deal -- premiering a show is a huge risk for theatre companies. It's a massive investment of time and resources, and having the courage to take that leap affords a theatre certain perquisites going forward. Like, I don't know, not having another theatre jump on their claim.

I'm not the only one who missed it in the proof, but I'm the one who has final responsibility...so there's egg all over my face today (and signage admitting the mistake all over the theatre).

Hey, at least we spelled Dostoevsky's name right.

Anyone want to make me feel better? Share your most embarrassing work-related errors in the comments.

Comments:

Hi Megan. So good of you to share this. Maybe I can help make you feel better. One of our largest donors is a long-time member of our chorus and a great friend to us all. Her mother died a few springs ago and the next fall we were going to perform a major Bach work. We told her that we would like to present the concert in her mother's honor, and she was very touched. The next fall, while deep in the pit of panicked, program book production, we simply... forgot. We didn't write a single thing about her mother. Nothing. Ouch. Luckily she was gracious and understanding about it. Sad, but understanding. That was kind of a bad one.

East Coast Chorus | Thu, Mar 5, 2009


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