Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Other Pleasantries and Such

Continuing on the idea of theatre courtesy, I've also noticed other of their folk saying 'thank yous' that aren't really about genuine gratitude. From the director, stage manager, stage minion or actor, the words mainly seem to acknowledge patience, talent and work contribution. Lots of times, its used in ways such as:
  • Acknowledging an announcement: For example, a places call ("Five minutes to places") is responded to with "Thank you, Five"
  • Conclusion: After general announcements, these words conclude me speaking ("Blah blah blah, thank you")
  • Multi-layered use: Appreciation for patience, Apologies for the wait and Cue to stop/start -insert action here- ("Thank you, name," and the scene continues until the next cue)
Kinda standard. But an outsider, say a pianist, may hear subtle shades of meaning within the chatter. And it can be entertaining - especially in auditions:
  • An actor's potential for being cast (Definitely - Oh, not a chance)
  • An actor's potential for getting a date (I won't cast you but I find you attractive)
  • A director's irritation (Go away - What on earth was that - For the love of God, stop)
  • Groveling (I was a jerk earlier and am trying to compensate for it by being overly polite after the fact)
  • Overeagerness (I'm so excited to be here I say everything with ridiculous enthusiasm)
  • Toadying (You are superior to me - I live to obey your every whim)
Just try not to laugh when the meaning is too transparent.

Another oddity I discovered this summer is something I'll call the 'mid-season meltdown' - a spontaneous crying fit that occurs for no specific reason. I found summer stock really intense, as did several of the students that I worked with (Huron Playhouse is an extension of Bowling Green University, so its a mix of students and professionals). It was challenging, glorious, and astonishingly draining, and any of the following caused many to crack: missing a loved one, learning the lines, songs or choreography for up to 3 shows at once, lack of sleep, constant close contact with the same people, loss of wallet or car keys, not bathing in two days . . . One member found herself sobbing when she couldn't find her dance shoes, another as she quietly did needlework in the box office. My own occurred in the middle of a full-run rehearsal of a show: I'm in the pit, tears streaming down my face for most of the second act (I still have no idea why). All I know is that hasn't happened since I was 10, when my mom forced me to perform for someone and I
really didn't want to.

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