Leaps tall buildings in a single bound
Is more powerful than a train
Is faster than a speeding bullet
Walks on water
Gives policy to God.
Leaps short buildings in a single bound
Is more powerful than a switch engine
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet
Walks on water if the sea is calm
Talks with God
Leaps short buildings with a running start
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine
Is faster than a speeding water pistol
Is occasionally addressed by God
Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap buildings
Is run over by a toy train
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury
Talks to animals
Chorus member –
Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings
Says “look at the choo-choo”.
Wets himself with a water pistol
Plays in mud puddles
Mumbles to himself
Stage Manager –
Lifts buildings and walks under them
Kicks trains off the track
Catches speeding bullets in his teeth and eats them
Freezes water with a single glance.
In is down, down is front, Out is up, up is back.
Off is out, on is in. And, of course, left is right and right is left. A drop shouldn’t and a ‘block and fall’ does neither. A prop doesn’t and tripping is .A trap will not catch anything. Strike is work (in fact, a lot of work). Now that you are fully versed in theatrical terms, break a leg, but not really.
Principles for the Actor
Do not listen to your fellow actors (it will only confuse you). Hold for all laughs – if you don’t get them, repeat line louder (face front if necessary, or laugh at it yourself).
Tension gets results – emotion is like an orange, you must squeeze it to get the juice . A performance, like concrete, should be moulded, and then set. Your first responsibility as an actor is to find the light. Do not look at your partner – you may not see what you want. Always be specific, point to what you are talking about. If a line isn’t working for you – change it. Cultivate an attitude of hostility – no more Mr Nice Guy. Stage managers are not actors – ignore them. Never be afraid of ad-libbing to get attention. Mistakes are never your fault. Always find something to complain about, no matter how small or insignificant. Never arrive on time. Never carry make-up; someone will always have what you need, Never help understudies – why should they steal your business? Help your fellow actors by giving notes whenever you feel it’s necessary; if they ignore you, report them to the stage manager. Whenever possible, give them notes immediately before they go on – it will be fresher that way. Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language. Keep other performers on their toes by making fun of their performances. The key advantage is surprise – don’t let actors know what you are going to do. Never change anything that’s working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem. When in doubt about an ad-lib , go “Whoo”. Even if a piece of ad-lib doesn’t work – keep using it.
Signs you’ve been in the theatre too much
You can only read from a light that is blue.
You tell more stories of what went wrong on shows you’ve done than what went smoothly
You know anything can be fixed with duct tape and a safety pin.
Instead of saying you’re leaving , you say you’re exiting.
At home you “strike” your dishes to the kitchen.
If someone asks you what time it is you respond with something like “Half hour ‘till half hour”.
Two stage managers, nearing the end of their careers, were discussing the likelihood of there being some form of theatrical endeavour in the hereafter. The first consulted a friendly medium. Later, the following exchange took place between the two stage managers.
SM! – “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is a wonderful theatre in heaven – well equipped, spacious, plenty of wing space. In fact, there’s a show opening tomorrow night.”
SM” – “That’s wonderful! So what’s the bad news?”
SM1 – “You’re the stage manager”
Question and Answer
Q:- Why don’t stage managers get breaks?
A:- Because it’s too hard to retrain them
Q:- How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A:- None. Complain to the Director at notes
Q:- How many theatre critics does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:- All of them – one to be highly critical of the design elements; one to express contempt for the glow of the lamp; one to lambast the interpretation of wattage used; one to criticise the performance of the bulb itself; one to recall superb light bulbs of past seasons and lament how this one fails to measure up; and all to join in the refrain reflecting on how they could build a better light bulb in their sleep.
Q:- How many drama students does it take to screw in a light bulb?A:- Erm, what’s the deadline? I may need an extension.
Q:- What’s the difference between God and a director?
A:- God never pretended to be a Director
Q:- What’s the difference between an actor and a mutual fund?
A:- Mutual funds eventually mature and make money
“You can throw away the privilege of acting, but that would be such a shame. The tribe has elected you to tell its story. You are the shaman/healer, that’s what the storyteller is, and I think it’s important for actors to appreciate that. Too often actors think it’s all about them, when in reality it’s all about the audience being able to recognise themselves in you. The more you pull away from the public, the less power you have on screen.”
– Ben Kingsley
“An actor is a sculptor who carves in snow.” – Lawrence Barrett
“Acting isn’t really a creative profession. It’s an interpretive one.” – Paul Newman
“Acting is the art of speaking in a loud, clear voice and the avoidance of bumping into the furniture.” – Alfred Lunt
“An actor is part illusionist, part artist, part ham.” – Oscar Wilde
“I love acting. It is so much more real than life.” – Oscar Wilde
“All the world’s a stage and the men and women on it merely players.” – Shakespeare
Upon learning that his Marathon Man co-star Dustin Hoffman had stayed awake for two days to look properly exhausted in one scene, Laurence Olivier told the younger actor, “You should try acting my boy. It’s much easier.” – Laurence Olivier
“The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.” – Arthur Miller
“We live in what is, but we find a thousand ways not to face it. Great theatre strengthens our faculty to face it.” – Thornton Wilder, 1958
Proverbs from the Techie “Bible”
I. Give not unto the actor his props before his time, for assuredly as the sun does rise in the East and sets in the West, he will lose or break them.
II. When told the placement of props by the Director, write not these things in ink upon thy script for as surely as the winds blow, so shall he change his mind.
III. Speak not in large words to actors, for they are slow of thought and are easily confused.
IV. Keep holy the last performance, for afterwards you shall party.
V. Leave not the area of the stage during the play to go and talk with the actors, for as surely as you do, you will be in danger of missing your cue and being summarily executed.
VI. Listen carefully to the instructions of the Director as to how he wants things done – then do it the right way. In the nights of thy work, he will see thy wisdom, give himself the credit, and rejoice.
VII. The only valid excuse for missing one’s cue is death.
Eternity – The time that passes between a dropped line and the next line.
Prop – 1. A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor shortly before it’s needed on stage. 2. Anything that gets in the way of a scene change.
Director – The individual who suffers from the delusion that he or she is responsible for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.
Final Dress Rehearsal – Rehearsal that becomes a whole new ball game as actors attempt to manoeuvre among the 49 objects that the set designer has added at 7.30 that evening.
Bit Part – An opportunity for the actor with the smallest role to count everybody else’s lines and mention repeatedly that he or she has the smallest part in the show.
Hands – Appendages at the end of the arms used for manipulating one’s environment. Except on a stage, where they grow six times their normal size and either dangle uselessly, fidget nervously, or try to hide in your pockets.
Stage Manager – Individual responsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes, baby-sitting the actors and putting the director in an armlock to keep him from killing the actor who just decided to turn his walk-on part into a major role by doing magic tricks while serving the tea.
Make-up Kit – among experienced community theatre actors, a battered tackle box loaded with at least 10 shades of greasepaint in various stages of desiccation, tubes of lipstick, blush
assorted pencil, bobby pins, crepe hair, liquid latex, old programmes, jewellery, break-a-leg greeting cards from past shows, brushes and a handful of melted cough drops.
Strike - The time immediately following the last performance that all cast and crew members are required to watch the two people who own Philips screw drivers dismantle the set.
Stage Right, Stage Left -Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to drive directors crazy. (No, no, your OTHER right!)