How to succeed at closing night

On the final night of FHC’s “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”, the audience got something they weren’t prepared for: a surprise ten-minute intermission. This break in the show was due to an injury that one of the actors sustained. While rumors quickly spread, the audience did not find out until later in the show that the actor was senior Mikelle McClintock, who appeared to finish the show, albeit in a wheelchair.

McClintock was coming off of the stage when she tripped and fell into the arms of junior Chris Franklin. However, despite the fact that she was caught, she still happened to injure her knee.

“I twisted my foot, and my knee gave out, I slipped,” said McClintock. “My knee popped three times and I fell to the ground.”

The temporary intermission was called shortly after, as McClintock was ushered off stage and into the greenroom.

“I was put in the green room and called Ms. Moll,” said McClintock. “I wasn’t paying attention to anything except the pain.”

McClintock was not in the position to walk, but the theatre department could not end the show in the middle of the performance.

“Everyone was scurrying around and trying to figure out the play,” said McClintock. “Ms. Moll was asking other people if they knew my lines.”

Besides the pain, McClintock was also going through a bit of emotional turmoil, as she was a senior in her final show, had just stopped the performance and had no hope of walking back out onto the stage.

“I really wanted to help, walk, and finish, but I couldn’t,” said McClintock. “I felt like I wasn’t fulfilling my deeds as an actress, and I was letting everyone down.”

This was not something McClintock wanted to do. Members of the theatre department constantly speak of the bond of the group, and McClintock had found her place within it.

“It completely changed me as a person. I was alone freshman year,” said McClintock. “Theatre has boosted my confidence and opened my eyes to what you can do on stage.”

McClintock had her first speaking part in the department during the 2011 production of “Seussical: The Musical,” though it was not a last minute decision.

“I had convinced myself all year that I was gonna do it,” said McClintock. “I felt confident. I fell in love with Gertrude.”

As the curtain closed, McClintock felt what most performers feel, a sense of longing that someone can only feel at the end of something they have worked on for months coming to a close. But, like most people, she went on to do more shows.

“I cried at the end of ‘Seussical’ because I missed it so much,” said McClintock. “I fell in love with theatre. I did dinner theatre too, and ‘The Crucible,’ one of the most challenging roles ever.”

But when McClintock got to “Seussical,” she was not certain which character she wished to portray.

“Going into [How to Succeed], I was unsure who to audition for,” said McClintock. “I loved Rosemary, but I knew Smitty was for me.”

McClintock got the part of Smitty, and on Saturday, the last night of the show and when the accident happened, she was trying to embody the character for the last time.

“[I] wanted to keep getting into character,” said McClintock. “Saturday, I was doing so much to play my character.”

But the accident happened, something no one had expected. McClintock had felt like she let everyone down by tripping.

“I felt like I let down the whole department, and myself,” said McClintock. “I hated myself for being clumsy.”

It was likely someone would have had to go out in her place, but someone had a brilliant idea.

“Go in a wheelchair’ originally started as a joke, but Sean took that seriously,” said McClintock. “Ms. Moll took charge, Spencer took control, and made that wheelchair. There was a moment of panic, but within five minutes, it shifted, and everyone knew what to do.”

McClintock got support from the other members of the troupe, and eventually convinced herself she could go out there.

“I know you can do this. We just need your voice. That’s your song. You know your encounter. We are here for you,” said McClintock. “In my head and heart, I knew I had to go out there.

And she did. McClintock reappeared in a wheelchair during the song “Cinderella, Darling,” and was accompanied by a gigantic amount of applause and a few “arrow to the knee” jokes throughout the rest of the show.

“When the accident happened, the improv we got to do was amazing,” said McClintock.

The accident was not all bad though, according to McClintock. Through the injury, the theatre department was forced to band together and strengthened their bond.

“It opened the eyes of theatre kids. It’s fun, but when problems happen, those split second decisions also need to happen,” said McClintock. “It affected everyone, brought us all closer.”

Though she sustained an injury, McClintock is not bitter about the show.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to end it any other way,” said McClintock. “I will always remember this.”