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YOU KNOW YOU WORK IN 99-SEAT THEATER WHEN....
your living room sofa spends more time on stage than you do.you have your own secret family recipe for stage blood. you've ever appeared on stage wearing your own clothes. you can find a prop in the prop room that hasn't seen the light of day in ten years, but you don't know where your own vacuum cleaner is you have a Frequent Shopper Card at The Salvation Army. you start buying your work clothes at Goodwill so you can buy your costumes at the mall. you've ever cleaned a tuxedo with a magic marker. you've ever said, "Don't worry - we'll just hot glue it." you've ever appeared on stage in an outfit held together with hot glue. you've ever seriously considered not doing in the murder victim because the gunshot might wake up the audience. you name your son Samuel and tell him that his middle name is in honor of the French side of the family. you've ever appeared in a show where tech week is devoted to getting the running time under four and a half hours. your lighting director has ever missed a cue because he was blinded by the glare from the sea of bald heads in the audience. you've ever appeared on stage in an English drawing room murder mystery where half the cast spoke with southern accents. you've ever called for a line -- in front of an audience.your children have ever begged you not to buy them any more Happy Meals. you think Neil Simon is a misunderstood genius. you've ever appeared in a show where the cast outnumbered the audience. you've ever gotten a part because you were the only guy who showed up for auditions. the audience recognizes you the minute you walk on stage because they saw you taking out the trash before the show. you've ever menaced anyone with a gun held together with electrical tape.
you've ever had to haul a sofa off stage between scenes wearing a dinner gown and high heels. you've ever had to haul a sofa off stage between scenes wearing a dinner gown and high heels - and you're a guy. you've ever played the father of someone your father's age. your kids know your lines better than you do. your kids SAY your lines better than you do. you get home from rehearsal and have to go back to the theater because you forgot your kids. you've ever appeared in a show where an actor leaned out through a window without opening it first. you've ever had to play a drunk scene opposite someone who was really drunk. you've ever heard a director say, "Try not to bump into the furniture," and mean it. you've ever appeared on stage with people you're related to. you've ever heard the head of the set construction crew say, "Just paint it black - no one will ever see it." your mother has ever greeted you after a performance with the words "Don't give up your day job." you've ever appeared in a show featuring a flushing toilet sound effect. the set designer has ever told you not to walk on the left half of the stage because the floor's still wet -- five minutes before curtain. you've ever been told your director has no eyebrows because he handled special effects for the last show. (Don't even think it...)
I read this in an issue of the Back Stage West and I think that all aspiring young actors should take heed.: "DON'T PAY TO PLAY. Remember: Managers and agents make money after you get work. Never pay a fee to be represented, submitted or considered for a role. If you do, the only thing you're being considered is an easy mark. A message from the Back Stage editorial staff."  No truer words were ever spoken. If you have paid a fee sometime in the past, please send me your expierence and I will post it here for others. Give me the names of those representatives and I will publish them so that others don't fall into the trap.

Expectations and Assumptions
by Sam Younghans

Expectations and assumptions in real life and in relationships usually lead to disappointment. However in the theatre there are basic expectations and assumptions. I would like to clarify some of those so that we may have an enjoyable, friendly, united production. Most actors know these things innately.

It is assumed that an actor is dedicated and committed to the production and the other cast members:
Dedication has many meanings, but in terms of the theatre it means to wholly or earnestly give of yourself to the production. When you are dedicated; you learn your lines, you are punctual and you extend courtesy to your fellow actors. Most of the top professionals are dedicated.
Commitment also has many meanings, but again, in terms of theatre it means you stick with it. When you commit to a production, you place that as top priority and you don’t audition for another production or take a part in an other play because you got a "bigger" part. People who are not committed soon have a reputation, and directors will not use them.

If you don’t feel right with a production, don’t accept the part. Accepting the part is stating your commitment, and if you do accept it with the feeling that you can always drop out, then you are cheating the director and your fellow actors. If friends come from out of town for a visit, bring them to the rehearsal or leave them at home, but attend the rehearsal. I know of one lady(I can’t call those people actors) who missed a rehearsal to attend an audition. She said she didn’t want the part, just the experience of auditioning. She soon left the production. Use you head if you want to be in the theatre business..

A good director schedules rehearsals so that actors can get work done and not stand around. It can not always be helped. It is expected of actors in those instances to work on their lines or help someone with their lines. Attending the performance goes without saying (I said it.).

Punctuality is respect for everyone in the production as well as respect for yourself. Time is valuable to everyone involved. Being late undermines the production and is unforgivable. Most professionals are not late. If you know your are going to be late, show some respect and call in.

Actors are expected to:
Learn their lines and be off book before dress. (Two weeks or sooner before dress)
Prepare before rehearsals: Vocal and physical warm ups, character thought, etc. directors expect the actors to bring something in with them to rehearsals (a sign of preparation). If he is a secure director, he will be open to suggestions and listen to the actors as the actors should listen to the director. We are always learning.

Sincerity does not mean that you must be HEAVY. Humor does not mean that you are not serious. Everyone enjoys working in an atmosphere of professionalism and professionalism is not HEAVY.

Teamwork is important. All parts are equally important. Respect, compassion and humility are the markings of greatness.

If you feel this is too much for you, do something else. Spare those who are dedicated and committed..

Sam Younghans

For those who may take the below serious: It is a joke!

Forget method acting! Here is all you need to know about how to act.
An Actor's Invaluable Guide to Summer Stock, Dinner Theatre, and Beyond...
Submitted by David Grant Wright

* Hold for all laughs---real, expected, or imagined! If you don't get one, face front and repeat the line louder. Failing this, laugh at it yourself.
* Cultivate an attitude of hostility. Tension gets results---on stage and off.
* A good performance, like concrete, should be molded quickly and then forever set.
* Your first responsibility as an actor is to find your light.
* Do not listen to your fellow actors on stage. It will only throw you. Do not look at them either---you may not like what you see.
* Always be specific---point to what you're talking about.
* If a line isn't working for you, change it.
* Stage Managers are NOT actors---ignore them. But help keep them alert by never arriving on time or signing in.
* Never be afraid to ad-lib to get attention, especially if you feel the leads aren't very entertaining.
* Mistakes are never your fault.
* Always find something to bitch about, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your fellow actors will respect your professional attention to detail.
* Never carry make-up---someone will have what you need.
* If you can't be heard, it's not your fault. Any decent theatre should have body mikes
* Never, never help understudies (They secretly hate you and want your job).
* Do help your fellow actors by giving them notes whenever you feel necessary. And give the notes immediately before they go on---it will be fresher that way.
* Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language.
* Keep other performers on their toes by ridiculing their performances, and never let them know what you're going to do next.
* Play the reality---always be aware of the audience and whether you think they like the show, then gauge your performance accordingly. Why knock yourself out for ungrateful assholes?
* The only difference between an amateur and a pro is that the pro does exactly the same thing for money
* Need a character? Get a costume.
* To rid yourself of extreme tension, masturbate just before the show.
* Never change anything that is working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem.
* When in doubt about an ad-lib, go "whoo"!
* Go up on a line? Clap twice, look at the audience, and giggle.
* Even if a piece of "schtick" doesn't work, keep using it. the important thing is for you to have fun and feel good about yourself.

Note: For those of you who have read the above and take it seriously, don't give up your day job.  From the Webmaster.

To Under-age Aspiring Actors

If you are a truly committed actor, you know better. This is for those that think they can become stars over-night because they think they are special. You are all special, but there are many dangers for young people who say they will do anything to become an actor. I receive an occasional email from young people who make statements about their desire to be an actor and know they can be the best. They want to know where they can go to be discovered. They give their email address and sometimes a phone number. Don't do this!! It is dangerous and not too bright. Chances are very good that You will run into someone who is looking to prey on young people.

When I receive an email like that, I delete it. If you are really serious, read the above advice, and start with a drama class in your school.