| Here's a list of a few salient types from the world of community theater.
- The actor or actress with a bad case of impaired spatial relationship
syndrome. Yes, the usually minor character you block upstage-right
to get them out of the way, and who somehow still manages to wind up center
stage at the denouement. These folks can cause more traffic jams
than a six-car pile-up in downtown Manhattan.
The Voice of Experience
- When an actor or actress begins most sentences with, "In my high
school drama class we...", your show has been infested with the Voice
of Experience. These "pearls of wisdom" will be blithely dropped
into the brief interval between one director's note and the next. Unfortunately,
most state game commissions still ban the hunting of these creatures,
despite their overpopulation problems.
"We did it better at Goshawful Players"
- This pervasive pest has a nasty case of "rose-colored" hindsight.
Looking back on the nostalgic days of yesteryear, they are quick to point
out that things were always handled better at the last community theater
group they were a part of. Of course, after listening to them for more
than two rehearsals or cast parties, one always get the idea that their
last theater group bought them a one-way ticket to your town and you start
to wonder what you ever did to the Goshawful Players.
The Fallen Star
- This is a sub-species of the "We did it better at..." listed
above. Prone to name-dropping and statements that end with, "Of course,
we got paid there," this creature is always on the verge of finding
a "new" agent and flitting off to New York or L.A. Most often,
the closest this type has ever come to Broadway is balcony seats at the
road show of Les Miz. Unfortunately, paying their fare to
New York or L.A. is not only prohibitively expensive for a small theater
group, this species also has at least a dozen reasons why "now is
a bad time."
Now starring in the Late-Late Show...
- So they were late to auditions... maybe they had trouble finding the
theater. Then they were late to the read-through. "The dog was playing
with my script... She was so cute, couldn't bear to take it away."
Then it was the first rehearsal. "7:30? I thought you said 8!"
As rehearsals continue, you hear that bankrobbers kidnapped the actor's
mother, his car caught fire "for no reason at all," suspicious
characters were following her and she had to "shake them." Finally,
you had to make cast call for performances an hour early to make sure
he/she showed up on time! Masters of the creative excuse, if they could
put half that creativity into their characters, they'd be being late on
Broadway instead of disrupting your rehearsals.
The Party Animal
- "I hear you guys have great cast parties!" This creature,
thinking there is no higher humor than the whoopie cushion, quickly becomes
"cast clown." This one is often responsible for other actors
breaking character or having hot flashes after eating the mints on stage.
If your drunk gasps loudly and turns red in performance, chances are there
was real whisky in his "whiskey" and your cast clown is backstage,
rolling on the floor. Remember to count to a zillion and remove all sharp
objects from the theater before discussing "professionalism in community
theater" with your actor.
Bachelor(ette) Number One!
- Single or newly divorced, this character shows up looking for love in
all the wrong places... backstage, in the green room, at the makeup area,
and especially at cast parties. Saltpeter works well.
If you've met a theater creature that you'd like to warn us all about,
please don't keep it a secret. Send
us a description and we'll post it here and credit you and your group.
Heck, we'll even let you name the species! Anonymous submissions are also