- The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line
- A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor 30 seconds
before it is needed on stage
- The individual who suffers from the delusion that he or she is responsible
for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review
- The art of moving actors on the stage in such a manner as not to collide
with the walls, the furniture, the orchestra pit or each other. Similar
to playing chess, except that 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
- Quality Theater
- Any show with which you were directly involved
- Every show with which you were not directly involved
- Rehearsal that becomes a whole new ball game as actors attempt to maneuver
among the 49 objects that the set designer added at 7:30 that evening
- Tech week
- The last week of rehearsal when everything that was supposed to be
done weeks before finally comes together at the last minute; reaches its
grand climax on dress rehearsal night when costumes rip, a dimmer pack
catches fire and the director has a nervous breakdown. Also known as hell
- 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
- That shining moment when all eyes are focused on a single actor who
is desparately aware that if he forgets a line, no one can save him
- The night before opening when no rehearsal is scheduled so the actors
and crew can go home and get some well-deserved rest, and instead spend
the night staring sleeplessly at the ceiling because they're sure they
needed one more rehearsal
- 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 babysitter that night, a situation
which can result in justifiable homicide
- Dark Spot
- An area of the stage which the lighting designer has inexplicably forgotten
to light, and which has a magnetic attraction for the first-time actor.
A dark spot is never evident before opening night.
- 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
- Stage Manager
- Individual reponsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set
changes, babysitting 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
- Makeup Kit
- (1) among experienced community theater actors, a battered tackle box
loaded with at least 10 shades of greasepaint in various stages of dessication,
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
- The Forebrain
- The part of an actor's brain which contains lines, blocking and characterization;
activated by hot lights
- The Hindbrain
- The part of an actor's 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 tonight, a notation to seriously maim the crew member who thought
it would be funny to put real tabasco sauce in the fake Bloody Marys,
or the fact that you need to do laundry on Sunday.
- Stage Crew
- Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute
stretches of total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless
- 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.
- Bedroom Farce
- Any play which requires various states of undress on stage and whose
set sports a lot of doors. The lukewarm reviews, all of which feature
the phrase "typical community theater fare" in the opening paragraph,
are followed paradoxically by a frantic attempt to schedule more performances
to accommodate the overflow crowds.
- Assistant Director
- Individual willing to undertake special projects that nobody else would
take on a bet, such as working one-on-one with the brain-dead actor whom
the rest of the cast has threatened to take out a contract on.
- 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 have
Definitions From Our Visitors
- Acting method utilized by the character "Delightful" in the southern
comedy Dearly Departed.
From Dennis Knapp, Barnwell County Circle Theatre
- 1) After a rave review, a font of wisdom and authority; 2) After a
damning review, a fool who wouldn't know if his hair was on fire.
From Samela Harris
- An article of clothing which doesn't fit, smells of mothballs, and
is in constant need of repair. (See also Goodwill)
From The V-Man
- 1) An electronic device which the stage manager uses to give cues to
the light board operator, and other crew members.
2) An electronic device which when worn gives the user the right to say
absolutely anything about any cast member, crew member, audience member,
or anybody else, except others with headsets, at any time.
Nora S. Beck, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois
- 1) The 10 foot by 5 foot area which the stage manager insists is more
than enough room for 2 pianos, a drum set, 4 horns, 2 woodwinds, 2 strings,
a make-shift dressing room, three set pieces, and several thousand beer
2) A group of trained or untrained musicians who willingly give up their
time to gather together to eat vast amounts of gummy ____ (insert
your favorite here), as well as other forms of nourishment, and use
their honorarium, which hardly covers their gas money, to buy as much
beer as possible, and lastly to provide at least one form of entertainment
for the paying audience.
Brian Vaupel, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois
- The time immediately following the last performance while all cast
and crew members are required to stay and dismantle, or watch the two
people who own Makita screw drivers dismantle, the set.
Gloria Dennison, Stage Coach Players, Dekalb, Illinois
- Actors (As defined by a set designer)
- People who stand between the audience and the set designer's art, blocking
the view. That's also the origin of the word "blocking", by the way.
Greg Quillinan, Florham Park Players, Morris Plains,
- Stage Right, Stage Left
- Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to
drive directors crazy. ("No, no, your OTHER stage right!")
Teri Robert, Actor's Guild of Parkersburg, WV
I'm not entirely sure whether this is a definition or an aphorism, but
it's one of our favorites.
"Just remember: It's only community theatre until it offends someone...
then it's ART!"
Scott R. Bloom