Ever since I was in grade school, I have been in many theatre productions. I have dedicated my life to being on the stage because it makes me feel alive, and it is a second home to me. The theatre is a place where you can do what you love and have tons of fun with it. I truly believe this because I have been a part of so many aspects of the theatre like being an actor, a choreographer, a backstage helper, and a director.
Being a director is the biggest honor (in my opinion) in the theatre community. This means you have enough skill and knowledge to guide actors to create a performance. It's a way to show that you understand the aspects of theatre and are creative enough to bring a show to life. It is all fun and hard work, but there are some things that directors tend to not enjoy. Even though theatre is a place to have fun for both the actors and director, there are a few things that directors are not a fan of.
1. If it's not your prop, don't touch it!
We get it. Seeing all the different kinds of props can be overwhelming, and you just want to hold and inspect them. It's an urge that actors face, but Theatre 101: Don't touch the prop if it's not yours. This rule exists for a couple of reasons.
1. If the prop breaks, it's your fault, and then the show doesn't have that prop anymore.
2. If a prop gets misplaced or moves, the actor who needs it will have to search for it instead of trying to get back on stage.
3. It's just downright rude. It's just common courtesy not to touch things that don't belong to you. If no one messes with any props, then everything will be A-OK.
2. Complaining about your costume
This is the moment every actor waits for because they want to see what they will be wearing during the performances. It helps the actors fully feel their characters beyond just saying their lines over and over. Some costumes are fun to wear and others can be downright atrocious, but you gotta wear it. The director and costumer picked those costumes out for a reason. They don't care if a costume is too hot or is itchy. It will just annoy the director, and it will look bad on you. Just wear the costume, suffer through it, and smile.
3. Talking backstage
It's a natural response to talk to your friends when you see them, but don't do it during a performance. Whispering is okay if you are not near the wings or if you are in the dressing room. But no one should be having a full-on discussion. Anything can be heard in the audience, even if you think you're quiet. And don't talk right when you go off stage because your microphone is still on and will pick up what you say. Plus, watch your language backstage because if a director can hear you say a curse word, you're finished.
4. Not being off-book
Some directors are usually sympathetic on the first day of being off-book, but after that, there is no mercy. Being off book means that you have your lines, dances, entrances, and exits memorized. No scripts should be seen once you are off book. Not being off-book means you are unprepared, and it will definitely show during rehearsals. Plus, directors can smell fear, so they will know if you didn't study your script. You won't be able to wing it, so just study your script and be prepared.
5. Saying "I'm tired"
Directors understand that being in school, working, taking care of a family, etc. and doing a show is tough. But don't say "I'm tired." Directors will not care. They get it that you're tired, but so are they, and they still showed up for rehearsals. Everyone has a life outside of the theatre, but don't bring your negative attitude on the stage. Be there and be ready to work. If you're tired, just work through it, and then you can rest when you have a break. Just don't complain because the directors won't care.
6. Not putting your props or costumes back neatly
It's common sense. Hang your costumes up and put your props away. Don't be lazy and leave them on the floor or in the wrong place. The director will know that it is your costume and prop. You won't be able to hide from them. Plus, the director will have to clean this up, and it's not fair to them that they have to put your things away. Take the time to put everything away. It'll be easier for you and the director.
7. Watching the show from the wings
Seeing the performance is something that the whole cast looks forward to, but don't do it during the actual performance. If you watch from the wings, then you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actors will be coming through the wings to enter or exit onto the stage and you will be in their way. The audience can see you in the wings. You may not see them, but they can surely see you. Also, you can get distracted and miss your cue if you watch the show from the wings. Then that'll look bad on you, and those on stage will have to wait for you to come on the stage. Be ready and be focused.
8. Being a theatre diva
Directors have no absolutely no tolerance for divas. Just because you got the lea role or the role you wanted does not mean you get to boss people around. You are not higher than anyone else in this production. You may think you have a bigger part, but every part is important in the show. Plus, if you're full of yourself, people won't want to hang out with you in and out of the theatre. It'll look bad for your character, even if you are a nice person off the stage. Don't get a big head because you'll most likely tip over soon enough.
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Like every human being, directors have these certain pet peeves because they know that the actors know better than this and want them to grow and learn from these mistakes. Directors are there to help you and have fun themselves. The theatre is where you can escape the outside world and be a part of a whole new story. It's hard work, but it'll pay off in the end. Pay attention, be ready for practice, and don't do any of these pet peeves.