Friday, May 7, 2010


March, 2010

When actors fumble around in rehearsal looking for a porthole into a character, they often glom on to props to secure what can seem like a perilous journey toward opening night.

I've seen actors nearly bury themselves in a teacup or tap around a set with a cane or hypnotically swirl fake Scotch around and around in a cocktail glass in search of something solid on a cardboard set.

One of my pet peeves with movie actors is incessant gum chewing. There's a misguided notion that chewing gum helps us feel "real." NO! It's only an annoying and distracting prop that makes you think you're real but you're just snapping gum and messing up your articulation at the same time.

And while I'm at it, actors should never chew gum because it tightens the jaw and clouds up clear speech. And while I'm at it some more, gum chewing should only be used as a prop if the character is trying to quit smoking, or attain fresh breath, or needs to retrieve a lost item from a street drain. Note: I said the character, not the actor. Actors do not need gum to be real.

In the Shakespeare Club, little actors fall prey to beguiling props as easily as their adult counterparts. Perhaps more so because the props are tantalizing toys, and while waiting around for your "bit" it's nice to have a toy. Furthering the problem is the fact that our swords, for example, are toys and break like toys. I have to keep a repair kit handy with tape, glue and a stapler.

"Oh, Ms. Ryane, look what happened to my stick!"

"And also my script is broken!"

"And the crown...what happened here, Ms. Ryane?"

God help me, the crutches are all in tatters, the lines are a mish-mash, the cues are late, and then:

"When's snack, Ms. Ryane?!"

I don’t know, I don't know, I don't know how to fix anything or do this or be ready on time.

Ms. Ryane needs a nap now. Zzzzzz.

If I was an Elizabethan boy will be wiped right now. Because in school teachers would wip boys if they talked out of teren. If I was William Shakespeare I would write a play called "Over throw The Teacher."
Dominick, 4th grade


  1. "Over throw The Teacher." That's hysterical!

  2. I'm looking at the ceiling, believe me.


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