(as defined by a set designer): Person who stands between
the audience and the set designer's art, blocking the view.
Director: Individual willing to undertake special projects nobody
else would do on a bet.
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
art of moving actors on the stage in such a manner so as to have them not
collide with the walls, furniture or each other. Similar to playing chess,
with the exception that, here, the pawns want to argue with you.
Rehearsal: The rehearsal during which actors frantically write down
movements that will be nowhere in evidence by opening night.
of individuals who spend their evenings coping with hour-long stretches of
total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic.
Dark Night: The
night before opening when no rehearsal is scheduled so the actors and crew
can go home and get some well-deserved rest, but instead spend the night
staring sleeplessly at the ceiling because they're sure they needed one
Dark Spot: An
area of the stage the lighting designer has inexplicably forgotten to
light, and which has a magnetic attraction for the first-time actor. Never
evident before opening night.
individual who suffers from the delusion that he/she is responsible for
every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.
The final rehearsal during which actors forget everything learned in
the two previous weeks as they attempt to navigate the 49 new setpieces
that have just been added.
time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line.
part of an actor's brain that contains lines, blocking and
characterization; activated by hot lights. Not to be confused with "hindbrain,"
Green Room: Room
shared by nervous actors waiting to go on stage and the precocious
children whose actor parents couldn't get a babysitter that night, a
situation that can result in justifiable homicide.
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
part of an actor's brain that keeps up a running subtext in the
background while the forebrain is trying to act. The hindbrain supplies a
constant stream of unwanted information, such as who is sitting in the
second row tonight, a notation to seriously maim the crew member who
thought it would be funny to put real Tabasco sauce in your fake Bloody
Mary, or the fact that you need to do laundry on Sunday. Not to be
confused with "forebrain," above.
Designer: Individual who whines and throws fits, saying, "This is
the last show I'm doing here!"
Makeup Kit: A
battered tackle box loaded with at least 10 shades of greasepaint in
various stages of desiccation, tubes of lipstick and blush, assorted
pencils, bobby pins, braids of crepe hair, liquid latex, old programs,
jewelry, break-a-leg greeting cards from past shows, brushes, and a
handful of half-melted cough drops.
shining moment when all eyes are focused on a single actor who is
desperately aware that if he forgets a line, no one can save him.
hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor exactly 30 seconds
before it is needed on stage.
Any show with which one was directly involved. Not to be confused
with "turkey," below.
obstacle course which, throughout the rehearsal period, defies the laws of
physics by growing smaller week by week while continuing to occupy the
same amount of space.
Stage Manager: Individual
responsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes,
babysitting the actors, and putting the director in a hammerlock 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 he serves the tea.
(a.k.a. "Hell Week"): The last week of rehearsal when everything
that was supposed to be done weeks before finally comes together at the
last minute. This week reaches its grand climax during "dress rehearsal,"
above, when costumes rip, a dimmer pack catches fire, and the director has
a nervous breakdown.
show with which one was not directly involved. Not to be
confused with "quality theatre," above.