One of the most hotly anticipated productions in Brooklyn theater this season is the Epic Theater Ensemble‘s New York premiere of Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl—who was recently shortlisted for the 2010 Pulitzer for Drama for her Vibrator Play—which had its first preview performance last night in the converted Sunday School at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene. But according to ArtsBeat, about two and a half hours into the three and a half hour show—a triptych that goes from passion plays in Elizabethan England to Nazi Germany and 80s South Dakota—the church’s fire alarm went off.
There was no fire, the alarm was probably caused by a smoke effect setting off a smoke detector (sounds plausible), but the audience and actors were forced to evacuate the building anyways. Rather than scrap the show with only an hour left, though, the Epic’s cast finished the performance on the steps of the museum. T. Ryder Smith, who plays the major historical figure in each segment—Queen Elizabeth, Hitler and Regan—told ArtsBeat: “I’m standing there in this Elizabethan gown and this white-faced makeup, holding a submachine gun in my hand. It was not the most convenient exit.” Sounds fun. Hopefully the old “smoke triggers the smoke alarm” gaff doesn’t happen again when the show opens—it already went off once last week during a dress rehearsal.