Theatre Talk II

I received a great deal of positive feedback about my Theatre Talk blog on the terminology of professional theatre. Thank you all for reading and being supportive.

However, many of my theatre/magician hybrid friends felt that I left out a section, and I agree with them. So please allow me to amend myself with this blog on theatre etiquette.

Etiquette in the theatre isn’t comparable to dinner manners or social constructs. It’s more like like strip club etiquette- everything serves a very practical purpose. Let’s begin.


Don’t Touch Other People’s Props

In theatre, all props go onto a prop table backstage. Every battle axe, newspaper, champagne glass, plasma gun, fake baby, and severed head is right there in the open. But only the actor who uses the prop is allowed to touch it. And everyone obeys. Prop Masters are scary people with access to many unpleasant weapons, including superglue.

The reason is clear: touch or move a prop which you don’t use, and it may not be in the right place when the actor goes to get retrieve it.

The reason is clear: touch or move a prop which you don’t use, and you may break it.

The reason is clear: this is work and not play. You have no reason to play with another person’s props.

And for magicians the reason is especially clear: we have secrets we want to hide and particular places particular things are placed. Touch or move a magician’s prop and you can very well ruin their show.


Silence Backstage

Silence is a binary word. There’s no “low” silence. You can’t have “kinda” silence. There’s just “shut your trap, walk softly, and don’t make any noise whatsoever” silence. Seriously, zero talking backstage. Ever.

The reason is clear: making noise distracts people from the show going on.

The reason is clear: making noise is disrespectful to your fellow performer onstage.

And more magicians the reason is especially clear: the audience may try to connect conversations from backstage as having something to do what is going on onstage. Suddenly your Invisible Deck is interpreted as being a two man job.


No Peeking From Behind The Curtain

This goes for before and during the show. People can see you. You aren’t sly. You think you are being sly, but you aren’t. And when you are spotted, you appear unprofessional. If do it during the show, you can add everything from the previous rule to your list of offenses.







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