When it's suggested a performer should break a leg before going on stage, it's never meant to be taken literally.
But in the case of one of Canberra's fast-rising young stars of the theatre, the sickening snap of a compound leg fracture after being cast for a major role will stay with him for some time to come.
Will Hollier-Smith, 13, who was the star of the Queanbeyan Players' production of Oliver in 2019 and had just won the plum role of Kurt Von Trapp in the upcoming The Sound of Music, was bouncing on a trampoline at home with his 10-year-old sister Anneke when his immediate stage plans took an abrupt turn for the worse.
"Anneke double bounced me on the trampoline and I'm not sure what happened; I think I just came down at the wrong angle," he said.
"There was a massive crack; it sounded like a gunshot.
"It was pretty cool, actually. Then I tried to stand up and almost passed out.
"I saw the bones were poking out and told mum, 'I think you better call an ambulance'."
The star's medical emergency, which resulted in surgery to repair a compound break to both his tibia and fibia, was just one of the many obstacles this well-loved Rogers and Hammerstein musical, first performed more than six decades ago, had encountered since auditions began way back in December 2019.
Over 170 people had auditioned, the roles cast and rehearsals had barely started when the shutters of the national coronavirus restrictions fell, throwing the schedules of film, stage and festivals all over the country into complete uncertainty.
And yet the longer the production uncertainty continued, the more the delay played into the hands of the next Kurt Von Trapp making a full recovery and resuming his role.
However, in the rush of the lengthy plate-and-screw lower leg repair, what had gone unnoticed was that Will had also cracked an ankle.
Six weeks later, his crutches slipped on a shopping bag on the floor at home and his weak ankle snapped.
Will's mum, Rachel, took the second setback philosophically.
"We thought, 'Oh well, we're still in [coronavirus] lockdown so this will give him enough time to fully recover'," she said.
"But we didn't realise was that when the plate and screws were removed in October [last year], the original leg injury was still compromised."
So just when it appeared Kurt Von Trapp was back on track for his star turn, he stepped off a small garden bed wall at the Chifley rehearsal hall and snapped the fibia again.
The show must go on but there's no donning the lederhosen for Will this time in the upcoming production.
However, he will present an unusual solo introduction to the show each night before the curtain goes up, as well as join in the childrens' chorus and hobble out to play a less conspicuous altar boy role later in the show.
The good news is the show is a complete sell-out weeks from opening night and the prolonged, stop-start build-up and production run over some 15 months has bonded the cast so closely that "we're all like a big family now", director Anthony Swadling said.
For those who missed out on tickets, the show now will be streamed online on Saturday, March 20.