If you’ve ever been in a play, musical production, magic show or done Pilates, you know that what the audience isn’t watching is either very boring or very hectic and usually entails violently stripping off clothing.

It’s no lie that how you act offstage is just as important as how you perform onstage. No one wants to work with a crazy divo/diva! And as we’re all plagued by the truth of, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, it’s crucial that that “who” isn’t disturbed by your behaviour. Here are vital shoulds and shouldn’ts to help keep you on your best backstage behaviour:

dsc_3433-1

Be Prepared

You Should:

Know when you have to come onstage, where from, and be positioned accordingly. Cues are vital and as soon as you hit that stage you must be switched on. Psyche yourself up before going on by taking a couple deep breaths or reciting a QUIET mantra.

You Shouldn’t:

Be in the dressing room ten seconds before your scene, texting your friend about how well the show is going!

Be Considerate

You Should:

Know when your cast mates will rush backstage to change and do not get in their way. If you’re asked for help with holding a prop or assisting them with a costume change, PLEASE DO IT. And if you know you’re going to need assistance with a quick change yourself, make sure you tell a cast or crew member who isn’t busy, preferably before the night of a show. Having to go onstage without clothes is a figurative and LITERAL nightmare.

You Shouldn’t:

Be aimlessly standing in the wings if you don’t have to go onstage. The theatre is no place for waiting around…unless you’re performing Beckett.

Be Punctual

You Should:

Arrive early for rehearsals (both dress and regular), bump-ins and performances. Life outside the theatre, including traffic, family commitments and illness may interfere with scheduled dates, but if you know of something that will clash with a prior commitment LET THE DIRECTOR KNOW! And not two days in advance, I’m talking weeks. As dramatic as it sounds (ha ha), if one person isn’t present at a rehearsal it can throw the whole shebang out of whack.

You Shouldn’t:

Mysteriously appear in the theatre after an hour of rehearsals, fully knowing that you were late then try using the, “What, I’ve been here the whole time!” excuse.

Be Quiet

You Should:

Have your phone on silent (or off) during the performance. It’s always tempting to take a few selfies backstage as a memento of your time in a production but this can serve as a distraction. You need to be aware of where the performance is up to at all times not matter how cool you look with that Snapchat filter.

You Shouldn’t:

Be talking backstage unless you’re whispering very, VERY quietly about something important, e.g. a missing prop, costume malfunction, etc.

This applies even if you’re in the dressing room as noise can travel quite far, depending on the size of the backstage area. Save that “You nailed that high note!” or “You are the Usain Bolt of set changes!” praise for intermission.

Be Smart

You Should:

Read over your lines backstage before the show if you’re feeling a bit shaky. Also, it’s wise to have some water with you to keep your voice from sounding like a chronic smoking jazz singer, unless that’s your character of course!

You Shouldn’t:

Be eating chocolate or other sweets. It may give you an energy boost for a little while but that wears off quickly. Besides, for some people dairy is known to produce more phlegm. But it’s best not to test whether you’re part of that small group before you’ve got to smash out a solo. No audience member wants to experience sitting in a mucus splash zone.

Be Thankful

You Should:

Understand that a lot of effort goes into every aspect of a show. Sometimes it seems like everything is falling apart before your very eyes, especially in the final weeks of rehearsals. That’s why it’s important to know that everyone has a role, and that each role is important and deserves recognition. Thank your director, costume designer, stage manager, lighting designer, production designer and everyone else along the way.

You Shouldn’t:

Leave the theatre thinking about or letting others know what you or anyone else could’ve done better. You only get out of it what you put in, and this goes double in the performance industry. And most of all, you shouldn’t end a show without a party!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments