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Things Actors Can Say

… that technicians can’t.  This could also extend to musicians, dancers, any artisty type really that the director doesn’t want to upset.  I hasten to add that 99% of all actors and artists I’ve ever lit have been awesome amazing professionals who can lift a text and elevate a character to incredible effect.  Let this not change, however, the fact that there’s a bit of a gap between what actors have sometimes been known to say in all sincerity, and what techies would get away with….

1.  But what’s my thought?

As an LD I would pay to be allowed to utter these words in sincerity.  ‘I’d love to increase side-light intensities by 5%… but what’s the thought that makes me do so?’  To which the answer of course is: ‘the thought is that your director told you to so do it.’

2.  I just feel that we’ve really rushed it, and I’m not happy.

Well yes.  We have rushed it.  You have had, dear actor, 72 hours to come to terms with the part of a cannibalistic poet with dropsy, your life is difficult, I do get that, seriously.  But I will have 4 hours to come to terms with lighting the whole show before an audience arrives, so if your unhappiness stops my technical rehearsal and takes away even an hour of my life, I will be 75% more unhappy than you.

3.  If I’m not comfortable, I won’t go on stage.

Yes, again, yes.  Totally get that, mostly respect that, were it not for the fact that you’re gonna have to go on stage at some point, and it might as well be now, when it’s a first preview, there’s no press in the audience and the harshest member of the viewing public is your old Gran who loved you back when you were playing a tree, and knew even then that you were playing an oak.  As someone who’s gone into previews with audiences in attendance, without having actually SEEN my lighting run for parts of the show, my sympathy totters.

4.  I need a respectful working environment.

Yes.  Yes you do.  So do I.  So kindly demonstrate respect for myself, and my peers, when your need for a respectful environment makes you behave massively disrespectfully to everyone else in the room…

5.  I can’t work under these conditions.

You and me both.  And yet it seems to me that storming off-stage and having a sulk for an hour because of these conditions, does not improve our situation…

6.  I can’t quite seem to find the reason why I pick up the sword…

Find one.  Please.  Just… find one.  Preferably on your own time.  Many is a show where I can’t find a reason why I put in red top-light, and yet the script says red top-light and alas, I obey and juggle things to the best of my ability to make it work…

7.  I need to miss that rehearsal for an audition.

… acceptable if you’re not being paid properly.  Really kinda dodge if you are.

8.  I feel we’re moving too fast.

Yeap.  And your performance will suffer for it.  This is why you should go home and learn lines in your spare time, study your character, consider the songs you’re singing and the music you’ve heard, because to my great regret, this is the speed we have to move at in order to put up a show which has been at least thinly rehearsed once all the way through, as compared to thoroughly rehearsed three times, 45% of the way through…

9. It’s me on stage, it’s me they’ll judge!

Well, yes.  But thankfully, audiences are bright enough to also judge the director, the designer and the writer.  If you think you sound silly uttering the words, ‘ah, but she slew the mongoose and now my soul weeps like a severed cabbage’ well then, they’re really stupid words and audiences are smart enough to see that.  Think long and hard about why you agreed to say them in the first place, and then kindly do your best, because your best is probably pretty damn good and odds are the reviews will say ‘not even X’s sterling work could redeem this script’ at which point, let’s face it, you can feel pretty smug.

10.  I can’t perform when there’s haze.

You can.  You just.  Can.