- Two neighbours in Stratford claim that their home is the true birthplace of Shakespeare. Officials in Stratford proposed to solve the dispute by putting a plaque on both their houses.
- Two deceased actors meet in heaven. One says: “Good grief, is that Trevor Nunn over there? I didn’t realise he was dead.” His acquaintance, who had a slightly longer experience of the afterlife, replied: “Oh no, that’s God- he just thinks he’s Trevor Nunn.” (I’ve known many an actor who thinks he’s God, trust me. Not only are they obnoxcious, but hacks, too.)
- Q: How do you drown an actress?
A: Put a mirror at the bottom of the pool.
- Q: How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Ten – one to hold the bulb and nine to say “it should be me up there”. OR…
A: One – the actor holds the lightbulb and the world revolves around him.
- Q: How many directors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Hmmm… Lightbulb… Allow me to ponder the changing of the bulb.
(My daughter was in a Greek play while in college. The director read 38 adaptations of a play before he directed hers. It was horrible. Moral of the story: You can read 1,000 adaptations but if you aint’ got the talent to direct it, it doesn’t matter.)
- Q: How many producers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Sorry, a new lamp isn’t in the budget.
- (I know of one company who threw a very elaborate, expensive cast party, but denied a very dedicated, always responsible volunteer a complimentary ticket saying, “It was too expensive to give you one.” ????
- Q: How many lighting designers does is take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. It’s a carefully orchestrated blackout.
(Never, never make the lighting designer or crew angry. They can easily put you in the dark because of it.)
- An actor without technicians is a naked person, standing on a bare stage, in the dark, trying to emote. A technician without actors is a person with saleable skills.
- A stage manager, a sound technician and a lighting designer find a bottle in a corner of the theatre. One of them rubs it and a genie pops out. “Since you all found me,” he says “you each get one wish.” The sound technician steps up and says, “I’d like a million pounds and three beautiful women.” POOF! The sound tech is gone. The lighting designer steps up and says, “Well, if he can have that, I’d like TEN million pounds, and my own personal island with 15 beautiful women!” POOF! The lighting designer is gone. The stage manager steps up and says, “I’d like them both back in ten minutes.”
- If “All the world’s a stage, and all the people merely players”… who the **** has my script?
(There is no one more hysterical or dramatic (pun intended) than an actor who can’t find his script, unless he or she is the overly confident actor who paraphrases anyway.)
In is down, down is front
1. Compromise your principles early and get it over with.
2. Memorize all of the songs from “Cats.”
3. Wear as much spandex as possible to auditions.
4. Wear lots of “comedy and tragedy” accessories.
5. Take your art WAY too seriously.
6. Misquote Shakespeare.
7. If a director doesn’t invite you to callbacks, assume it’s a mistake and go anyway.
8. When you get to callbacks, ask the director “Will this take long?”
9. No matter how many conflicts you have, reply “none.” Hey, it can all be worked out in the end.
10. Overemphasize the lines they laugh at.
11. Mistreat props. Lose them. Take them home with you.
12. Tip the director.
13. Repeatedly ask techies, “Will this be ready by the opening?”
14. Assume the stage manager is there to clean up after you..
15. Stay up late power drinking before early morning calls.
16. Pause for so long after your monologue that they can’t tell if you are done or not.
17. Remember, although you can always be replaced, they can’t replace you until you’ve done a LOT of damage.
18. When your character isn’t talking, mug.
19. Why be onstage when you can upstage?
20. For a touch of realism, upstage yourself.
21. Give fellow actors advice on how to do their characters.
22. If you can’t get a grasp of your character, just do Jack Nicholson.
23. Blocking is for amateurs.
24. Eye contact is for actors afraid to stand on their own.
25. It’s not the quality of the role, it’s what you get to wear.
26. Wear all black and hang out in coffee houses.
27. Change your blocking on opening night.
28. Remember: frontal nudity gets you noticed faster.
29. Use your tongue to make stage kisses look “real.”
30. Break a leg. Literally.
The Actor’s Vocabulary (Edited)
ETERNITY: The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line.
PROP: A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor exactly 30 seconds before it is needed on stage.
DIRECTOR: An individual who suffers from the delusion that he/she is responsible for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.
BLOCKING: 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, nor descend precipitously into the orchestra pit . Similar to playing chess, with the exception that, here, the pawns want to argue with you.
BLOCKING REHEARSAL: A rehearsal taking place early in the production schedule where actors frantically write down movements which will be nowhere in evidence by opening night.
QUALITY THEATRE: Any show with which one was directly involved.
TURKEY: Any show with which one was NOT directly involved.
DRESS REHEARSAL: The final rehearsal during which actors forget everything learned in the two previous weeks as they attempt to navigate the 49 new objects and set pieces that the set designer/director has added to the set at just prior to the DRESS REHEARSAL.
TECH 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 on DRESS REHEARSAL NIGHT when costumes rip, a dimmer pack catches fire and the director has a nervous breakdown.
SET: An 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.
MONOLOGUE: That 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.
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.
GREEN ROOM: Room shared by nervous actors waiting to go on stage and the precocious children whose actor parents couldn’t get a baby-sitter that night, a situation which can result in justifiable homicide.
STAGE MANAGER: Individual responsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes, baby-sitting 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.
LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Individual who, from the only vantage point offering a full view of the stage, gives the stage manager a heart attack by announcing a play-by-play of everything that’s going wrong.
ACTOR [as defined by a set designer]: That person who stands between the audience and the set designer’s art, blocking the view.
STAGE RIGHT/STAGE LEFT: Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to drive directors crazy. (e.g. “…No, no, your OTHER stage right!!!!”)
MAKE-UP KIT: (1) [among experienced Theater actors]: 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; (2) [for first-time male actors]: a helpless look and anything they can borrow.
CREW: Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute stretches of total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic.
MESSAGE PLAY: Any play which its director describes as “worthwhile,” “a challenge to actors and audience alike,” or “designed to make the audience think.” Critics will be impressed both by the daring material and the roomy accommodations, since they’re likely to have the house all to themselves.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Individual willing to undertake special projects that nobody else would take on a bet, such as working one-onpone with the brain-dead actor whom the rest of the cast and crew (including the director) has threatened to take out a contract one.
And finally, remember this: “It’s only theater until it offends someone…then it’s ART!”