I was backstage at the premiere of my one-woman play, "Cirque Jacqueline." Five minutes before curtain, I suddenly realized I desperately needed to use the bathroom, which was down the hall. The bathroom was accessible to the audience, but I assumed since the play was to begin in five minutes, everyone would be seated. I ran to the bathroom and did my business, only to discover when I flushed that the toilet was clogged. In fact, the water began to overflow. Fortunately, there was a plunger beside the toilet, and I grabbed it and frantically began to plunge, but it had no effect: Water began to pour out of the top of the toilet through a crack, creating a fountain about a yard high. I decided to open the bathroom door and yell for the stage manager, but to my surprise, five audience members had lined up to use the bathroom.
So there I was, in full Jackie Onassis costume: pink suit and pillbox hat, white gloves, sunglasses, coiffed hair, and pearls, plunging the toilet and yelling for the stage manager.
It was especially awkward since it's important that the audience doesn't see me in advance—I'm in the spotlight for my opening moment, and the audience is always surprised to discover how much I resemble Jackie.
Speechless, I covered my face with my hands and ran down the hall. I'll never forget their gaping faces!
Fortunately, my exceptional stage manager took care of the situation.