Musical theatre workshops and productions

Stage Etiquette – PART 2

Many readers commented about the previous blog – Stage Etiquette – so  I thought I would immediately follow it up with some more thoughts on the subject.

  • Respect superstitions – In previous blogs we discussed why theatre people say “that Scottish play” and we talked about the famous ghost light. We even talked about why people say “break a leg” backstage instead of good luck. So, even if you don’t believe in these superstitions – please keep it to yourself while you are at the theatre.  You can discuss it in detail when you are in the parking lot.
  • Quiet backstage – Now, you might think that this is a given. But it is not.  I worked with 30 high school students a few years ago in a summer musical theatre workshop.  We were preparing for LES MIZ. I was floored how these students would talk FULL VOICE backstage while the dress rehearsals were going on.  Not only is this incredibly distracting to the actors, the audience very well may hear you!  Oh….and never say “Shhhhhhh”.  That sound travels directly to the back of the theatre!  Generally, it’s best not even to whisper backstage, you don’t want to distract the actor who is about to go on or the technicians who might be preparing for a fast costume or set change.
  • Always wear shoes backstage. It may seem “artsy” to run around barefoot, but it is very unsafe.  During tech rehearsals, there are often nails, and wood shavings (not to mention spilled soda or other gross things) on the floor.  If you have a scene in the show that requires you as the character to be barefoot, wear shoes to the stage then take them off where you are directed to.
  • Don’t change anything once the show is FROZEN. (And, I am not talking about Disney’s new musical coming to Broadway.) Once the show is settled, the director will tell the cast – nothing changes. No new adlibs, no new blocking, no changing entrances or exits and certainly no personal adjustments to your costumes.  The show must remain the same each night…but seem “fresh” as well…..not easy.

But easy…is not the show biz life.

Larry Little

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