RenFaire Director's Terminology

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As 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 involved
Every show with which you were not directly involved
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 week.
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 show.
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 borrow.
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 on stage.
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!") Costumes Acting Language RPFI History
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