So I’ve been in and out of rehearsal the past few days. It’s been awesome, it’s a really funny play. You should all definitely watch it online, there are a few live productions online and the movie version isn’t hard find.
Rehearsal the other day was hilarious. So instead of a Mr. De Pinna we have a Mrs. De Pinna, and all the jokes make her sound like a lesbian XD and there’s one joke about Paul not wearing pants while they build fireworks together, so I’m fairly certain they’re having an affair behind my back. What a slut. Then I accidentally asked Tony if he had a rich husband instead of a rich father, and he just kept going with his lines and we were dying, it was so funny.
So I have a question. What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you during show rehearsals?
The list of superstitions in theatre goes on for miles; many things may sound ridiculous when you’re given their explanations, but at this point they’re just a part of theatre etiquette and it’s expected of you to know them. Here are the major examples:
- Never say ‘Macbeth’ in the theater. It’s cursed. This is probably the most important superstition for an actor to remember. It’s basically a newbie mistake if you do this, and people will judge you for it if you do it. Don’t even say it if you’re performingMacbeth, that’s only allowed if the play is actually in progress. I feel a little woozy just saying it this many times on Tumblr, and I swear to God if the site crashes I’m so sorry. Just call it “The Scottish Play” and its title characters “The Scottish Lord” and “The Scottish Lady.” When my high school didMacbeth, we called it MacDaddy. Whatever you need to do tonot say its name is perfectly fine. This shit is totally real though and any serious performer will tell you so; a Freshman said it during musical rehearsal and a ladder fell on our dance captain that same day. True story.
- Say ‘break a leg,’ but never ‘good luck.’ It’s believed that spirits of the theatre will cause the opposite of whatever you say to occur, so the correct phrase is meant to confuse them. That’s not the only theory of this superstitions origins, though: ‘break’ is similar to ‘bend,’ meaning you would take many bows; understudies would say it to the actors cast ahead of them so many times that it just became theatrical slang; there are more, but the important thing to remember is to not say ‘good luck.’
- A theater is never closed, it is merely dark. The theater being closed for the night is bad luck, so you merely state that the house is dark. The stage lights aren’t on because there isn’t a performance, but the theater isnever closed. Ever.
- No whistling. Stage hands used to use complex whistles to cue one another, and a misguided whistle could cause serious complications. Also, it’s really fucking annoying. Just get offstage and shut up, please, for the love of God just stop making noise when you’re not onstage. Pet peeve, sorry, I’ll calm down.
- Don’t sleep with your script under your pillow. Some actors believe it helps them learn their lines better, but many others believe it increases your chance of forgetting them. You can’t learn your lines this way anyway, just practice.
It’s not hard to find lesser-known superstitions, every actor has them. Be respectful of people’s superstitions, not matter how stupid they may seem; even if you know it isn’t true or doesn’t make sense, you don’t want to psych out your fellow cast members by mocking their beliefs.
"The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work."
— Berthold Auerbach (via pennymiddleton)
Memorize them. Practice them. Above all else, follow through on them.
- Speak the lines of the author as written, distinctly and fluently, with a deep understanding of their meaning.
- Don’t use elaborate or artificial hand or body gestures, but keep a reserve force in order to smoothly build an emotional climax. However, do not let the loss of unnecessary motion make you appear apathetic or dull. Let your inner understanding of the scene guide your motions.
- Don’t overact or underact to get a laugh or reaction from the audience. Your audience is smart enough to understand what’s going on, or your lines would not be written in such a way.
- Take what you’re doing seriously. There are actors who show little to no resemblance of humanity when they perform, yet all characters are based off of our societal understandings and human nature. Your character will not come across well if you ignore that.
- Never add lines, especially in comedic roles, to try and get laughs. Your friends might laugh and some naïve audience members may think that’s the best line in the play, but it’s unprofessional. You wanna become a playwrite? Get off the stage and go write a play. Written works should not be fodder for your improv, and you are acting like you are the only person onstage. It’s disrespectful to the rest of the cast who have the decency to stick to the script.