Lights Out at Master Pancake
Updated: Sep 24, 2018
So my husband and a fellow Chickster and I attended the Back to the Future Master Pancake this past Saturday at the Ritz downtown. It was immensely entertaining, as Master Pancakes usually are, but little did we know that the best part of the show would happen halfway through.
Right when Marty “fashioned a skate board” to escape Biff instead of just running, as one Master Pancaker humorously pointed out, the screen snapped off, and it became clear that only emergency lighting remained.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t planned,” one of the Master Pancakers yelled into the crowd since the microphones were now useless. Then they decided to perform their movie mid-point skit early with the help of anyone in the audience who had a phone, who were asked to shine it at the stage to create a spotlight. “That’s right, for once we actually want you to use your phones,” one said.
In the skit, Marty was portrayed as energetic and jumpy as a 12-year-old boy. The other was dressed as Doc from the future with a very convincing Doc Brown voice. There was also a Libyan who had a cardboard volxwagen bus hung around his waist who made several appearances to stretch out the skit. He often punished audience members who sang along to “American Pie” with vocal machine gun noises and the sticking of his fingers in their beer.
Marty had several good stalling tactics, like Doc continued to die until he wrote a more and more detailed note about how to survive the Libyans. Just when this got tedious, the Doc Master Pancaker pointed out, “If you keep that up, the audience will know you’re stalling until the lights come back on,” which elicited some laughter. Marty also made the humorous joke of, “In my time, we don’t have electricity.”
The lights did not come back on and it seemed likely that they wouldn’t for a while. So the Master Pancakers recruited audience members to play the other characters so they could perform the entire rest of the movie for us. The audience members they picked held their own and even provided decent jokes in this improvised version of Back to the Future. For example, the one playing George McFly quipped “We got a divorce” when Lorraine McFly was late to the stage at one point. Once she appeared he saved it with, “She came back…for the alimony,” which the audience found pretty entertaining.
Even though everyone who experienced the blackout was given a free movie pass for the future, I don’t think anyone felt gypped after experiencing a live, improvised “Back to the Future” performed by Master Pancake and others all the way up to the famous last line: “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads,” which was enthusiastically yelled by the audience in unison. I think many would agree that it was actually a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But I will say that going to the ladies with only the light of your iPhone is a little challenging.
When it comes to the blackout, it turns out there were several transformers that failed in a row and overloaded power lines. This created a 12-hour electricity outage boxed in by Congress, Red River, Sixth Street and 12th Street. So it’s a good thing that Master Pancake wasted no time in performing their skit and that the audience did not wait for the lights to come back on to finish the movie.