an actor, life is pleasant and straightforward. You take
the stage, deliver your lines, receive your accolades, and retire
to an ale in the greenroom. That said, it can be clarifying to
observe the Director's point of view. The following terms will
help you understand why s/he looks like that when you lose your
script for the fourth time. (Sorry Sandra.)
- The time that passes between a dropped cue
and the next line, or the line for the privies.
- A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by
an actor 30 seconds before it is needed, destroyed or lost
completely by props after its been ordered. If a monger, anything
that smells bad, looks gross or draws flies. If a Washerwoman,
anything you can toss water with or any piece of cloth that can
be slapped, thrown and shredded.
- Guildmaster or Troupe Director
- The individual who
suffers from the delusion that he or she is responsible for every
moment of brilliance cited by ENT, other guildmasters or the
Reporter for the local newspaper or TV station.
- The art of moving actors on the stage in such
a manner as not to collide with the other actors, the walls, the
band, the queen, the audience or fall off the stage. Similar to
playing chess, except that the pawns want to argue with you.
- Blocking Rehearsal
- A rehearsal taking place early in
Workshop production schedule where actors frantically write down
movements which will be nowhere in evidence by opening day.
- Quality Theater
- Any show with which you were directly
- Every show with which you were not directly
- Dress rehearsal
- Rehearsal that becomes a whole new
ball game as actors attempt to maneuver among the 49 booths and
carts that the Marketplace Team added at the week prior to
opening. Also known as opening weekend.
- Tech week
- The last week of workshops when everything
that was supposed to be done weeks before finally comes together
at the last minute; reaches its grand climax on dress rehearsal
Sunday when costumes rip, a trailor catches fire and the
guildmaster/director has a nervous breakdown. Also known as hell
- An obstacle course which, throughout the workshop
period, defies the laws of physics by growing smaller week by
week while continuing to occupy the same amount of space
- 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 stage
- Backstage Area
- Room shared by nervous actors waiting
to go on stage and the precocious children whose actor parents
couldn't get a baby-sitter that weekend, a situation which 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 pockets. If sixteen and
female, those things at the end of most 30+ male cast members to
be avoided at all costs!
- Faire Stage Manager
- Individual responsible for
overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes, baby-sitting
the actors and putting the guildmaster/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 Queen tea.
- Stage Manager
- Individual who, from the only avantage
point offering a full view of the show, gives the stage Faire
Stage Manager a heart attack by announcing a play-by-play of
everything that's going wrong.
- Makeup 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)
among Faire Workers a six-pack of beer and anything they can
- The Forebrain
- The part of an actors brain which
contains lines, blocking and characterization; activated by large
audiences and hot sunlight.
- The Hindbrain
- The part of an actors 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 of
haybales, a notation to seriously maim the cast members who
thought it would be funny to put puffy sponge capsules in the
Well, or the fact that you need to do laundry on Monday.
- Street cast
- Group of individuals who spend their days
coping with 30-second stretches of total boredom interspersed
with 6-hour bursts of mindless panic
- Assistant Director
- Individual willing to undertake
special projects that nobody else would take on a bet, such as
warm-ups, one-on-one with the brain-dead actor whom the rest of
the cast has threatened to take out a contract on, asking Gerald
for more haybales, water, burlap or comp tickets.
- Set Piece
- Any large piece of furniture which actors
will resolutely use as a safety shield between themselves and the
audience, in an apparent attempt to both anchor themselves to the
floor, thereby avoiding floating off into space, and to keep the
audience from seeing that they actually can move, pose and cross
- The time immediately following closing weekend
while all cast and crew members are required to stay and
dismantle, or actually drink beer while the two people who own
Makita screw drivers dismantle the guildsite.
- History Buffs (read geek) who come out here and
pay huge amounts of money to have the privilege of working long
hours, whine alot, get paid next to nothing (if at all), wear the
hot costumes, put up with the director's tantrums and basicaly
make us look good.
- Stage Right, Stage Left
- Two simple directions actors
pretend not to understand in order to drive directors crazy.
("No, no your OTHER stage right!")