Many wonder what REALLY goes into making a theatrical production and what goes on behind the scenes. While we can't give away all of our trade secrets, here are some lessons I have learned that may give everyone a glimpse into the lives of actors.
1. How to embrace the butterflies
Speaking in front of an auditorium full of people is scary. Like, really scary. Stage fright is something you learn to control because if you let it control you, you will crash and burn on the stage.
2. How to be confident in my own skin
As weird as it may sound, you learn to be comfortable with yourself by pretending to be someone you are not.
3. Not everyone is judgemental
Theatre kids are the most accepting "clique" you will ever meet. Theatre kids are composed of all walks of life with varying personalities that will accept you for who you are.
4. How to laugh
By working so closely together, your castmates will become your best friends and practices usually turn into hours of little work with lots of laughter instead.
5. How NOT to laugh
ESPECIALLY when you are performing a comedy. Learning how NOT to laugh at the things that will have the audience rolling on the floor is a special skill that takes months to perfect, and that is only for the funny jokes and actions in that specific performance. Unfortunately, you cannot break character on stage in front of the entire audience to laugh at the silly antics, even though everything inside you is screaming too.
6. How to function in heels all day, every day
Boys, this doesn't apply to you. But girls, you get EXACTLY what I mean. For hours and hours, you have to function in heels daily. By the time the performances roll around, you're immune to the pinching and blisters associated with the heels.
7. How nice it feels to finally take your heels off
Girls, can I get an AMEN.
8. How to apply makeup
No matter your gender, this applies. We do not get special makeup artists to do everything for you, nor do your castmates have time to do it for you. So boys, pick up that foundation and get going!You
9. How well I can procrastinate
If you have not waited until the night before to memorize every line of an ENTIRE PLAY, then you have not truly procrastinated. It is truly an art form to do it the night before. And yes, I have been there. Many times.
10. How scary the dark is
Ever walk across a stage filled with furniture in the pitch black, not knowing where the edge of the stage is? Scariest. Thing. Ever.
11. How many costumes can suck
Costume malfunctions are the worst. If you don't exit the stage for the entire act, you're forced to try and act nonchalant while your costume is falling apart and something is threatening to be exposed.
12. How fun costumes can be
13. How stage makeup differs from everyday makeup
When an actor is on the stage, you don't realize how much makeup they really have on until they are off the stage and in person. The bright stage lights wash out a person's features so when applying stage makeup, you apply twice as much and twice as noticeable until you look like a freak in person.
14. How much makeup can ruin your skin
The week of performances you uncontrollably break out and your skin is so dry from all of the makeup wipes you use to scrub everything off each night.
15. How awful nylons really are
I have never made it through a performance without ripping my nylons and once that happens, there's no going back.
16. How to be a leader
I once had the chance to fully direct a production, and I probably would never do it again. Stepping up to be a leader was the hardest thing I've had to do and I would much prefer to be on the stage.
17. How to have patience
Again, being a director was difficult. Not every cast member would take the production seriously and it took every ounce of patience I had not to give up.
18. How to keep pushing when everything goes wrong
19. How to think on your feet
When something DOES go wrong, you have to just roll with it and the audience will never know.
20. And finally, the difference between a play and a musical
Apparently, the rest of the world doesn't understand this.
These are just a few of the many lessons I have taken from the theatre, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Theatre has many benefits and I encourage anyone to give it a try if given the chance, but don't say I didn't warn you!