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The Actors Vocabulary more theatre humour

Posted on December 30, 2011 by theatretechgeek

ETERNITY: The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line.

PROP: A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor exactly 30 seconds before it is needed
on stage.

DIRECTOR: An individual who suffers from the delusion that he/she is responsible for every moment of
brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.

BLOCKING: The art of moving actors on the stage in such a manner so as to have them not collide with
the walls, furniture, or each other, nor descend precipitously into the orchestra pit . Similar to playing
chess, with the exception that, here, 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 opening night.

DRESS REHEARSAL: The final rehearsal during which actors forget everything learned in the two
previous weeks as they attempt to navigate the 49 new objects and set pieces that the set
designer/director has added to the set at just prior to the DRESS REHEARSAL.

TECH WEEK: The last week of rehearsal when everything that was supposed to be done weeks before
finally comes together at the last minute. This week reaches its grand climax on DRESS REHEARSAL
NIGHT when costumes rip, a dimmer pack catches fire and the director has a nervous breakdown. See
also Hell Week

SET: 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.

MONOLOGUE: 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.

STAGE RIGHT/STAGE LEFT: Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to drive
directors crazy. (e.g. No, no, your OTHER stage right!!!!)

MAKE-UP 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) [for first-time male actors]: a helpless look
and anything they can borrow.

CREW: Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute stretches of total boredom
interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic.

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 and crew (including
the director) 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 legs.