The world of burlesque is a fantastic mixed bag, ranging from glamorous fan dances to grotesque parodies. My experiences so far have been focused on the glamorous end of the spectrum, which was why I was excited to be working at a show with a whole load of performers I had never seen before, all from the darker and twisted side of burlesque .
Walking on glass, laying on nails, swinging weights from eyelids, fake blood and needles. For example, I was awe-struck to see Empress Stah take her own blood, mix it with champagne and knock it back. I may even have screamed (!).
However along with all of these shocking and amazing acts comes risk. The performers obviously work really hard at their acts, and take the risk on board. However there is also risk for those working around them.
I accidently got pricked by a needle as I cleared the stage. It was an accident, and I don't blame or feel anger towards anyone involved. In theory the performer was meant to have taken the sharps away with her, so that she would be only one picking them up. Her act hit a problem, and she ended it early (I don't think the audience could tell - they still loved it). This meant she forgot to take the needles away.
I presumed the needles had been taken away, and they didn't look like needles, so just gathered up her stuff to clear the stage. In the rush to prepare the stage for the next act, I pricked myself.
Of course the performer was gutted, and so apologetic, and I know it was just a one-off accident. However, it has made me question how we work with more risky equipment.
Should we be arranging shows differently when there is risk involved? Or are the accidents too rare to worry about? I do know another performer who has been pricked recently with another person's sharps...so it isn't unheard of. Do we need clearer expectations when working with performances that include risk?
As I said, I'm not angry, and I hold no blame. These things sometimes happen. But is there anything else we can do to reduce the risk?
Added after some thought - I suppose if I were to get an illness/disease from the incident, which although is very unlikely, is still a possibilty....I perhaps would not be so forgiving.....