In January 2012, Hecate Theatre will perform the work of Birmingham based playwright, Nick Shelton, at The Little Black Box Theatre in Redland – “Deathline” is a darkly comic supernatural story about a phoneline from the dead to the living!
We conducted auditions last week and rehearsals start today. Cast as follows:
Sally – Nicola Phibben
Amy – Gemma Reynolds
Death – Amy Tobias
Claire – Natasha Paulinyi
Lilith – Daisy Dugmore
Director – Andy Yeoh
Look out for more information in the next couple of months!
Every industry has its own jargon, terms specially developed with meanings specific to the nature of the operation. Theatre land is no exception. In fact, it’s a world dominated by what to an outsider may seem the most unusual terms. A turkey for example is great at Christmas but is not something an actor would want to go near! Equally, the Gods are something most people pray to but to a performer, reaching the Gods requires nothing more than good projection (or a well-placed speaker!).
Additionally each company creates its own identity and community by adopting and tailoring the jargon to fit their operation. I remember starting work for a children’s theatre company and being baffled when, in rehearsals, a fellow cast member asked me if I could spin the flats. “Erm, yes of course I can. So… what are the flats? And how does one spin them?”
Naturally I learned very quickly and these terms are now such a natural part of my vocabulary it seems odd to think that I once didn’t understand their meaning! Flats incidentally are stand-alone piece of scenery mounted on a base on castors (known as spinning bases), which when manipulated rather like the sail on a windsurfer, can be spun around to reveal a different scene.
At Hecate Theatre we are no different in this regard. Like all other companies we have a read through, commence blocking, remember our props, receive notes, speed run, perform a cue to cue run as part of our technical rehearsal and dress before the house opens (glossary provided below). However, during the rehearsals for the recent run of Metamorphoses: Fables from Ovid we acquired our own set of Hecate specific jargon, a few examples of which follow:
The rather long title of the show became shortened to Metz for simplicity’s sake,
We always finished our vocal warm up with a basking shark,
And in addition to the technical cue to cue run, we introduced a sheet to sheet run.
Of all the jargon I have picked up and absorbed into my grammar since I first trod the boards over 20 years ago (that makes me feel old, so I feel the need to point out that I first blinked under the bright lights in the same year I started primary school) this particular saying has to be my favourite. Those lucky enough to get a ticket to Metz will know that the costumes, scenery and illusions were created almost entirely through the use of four white sheets, which had to be in the right place at the right point in the play to keep the action running smoothly. Therefore once the sheet choreography had been established a sheet to sheet run was required to ensure the right linen was picked up from the right place. After all taking the incorrect sheet could have meant the absence of a baby, the loss of Ianthe’s wedding dress or worse… denying the audience to chance to see simulated sheet snake sex live on stage.
Which, quite frankly, is not something you see every day.
The Gods: The highest seats in the theatre, usually at the very back
Turkey: An awful show
Read Through: Exactly as it sounds, when the cast first meet and sit down to read the script aloud.
Blocking: The act of working out entrances and exits; who stands where and what movement happens during a scene.
Props: Short for properties, implies objects that are used in the show; for example, Matron’s candle.
Notes: Feedback given by the director. Suggestions of how to improve for next time
Speed Run: Doing the show very fast. An excellent way of making sure all performers know their lines! Usually just lines but not always.
Technical Rehearsal: When lights, sound and scene changes are integrated. Often done in the format of a cue to cue run.
Cue to cue run: When the actors perform only those lines which are the cue for a technical requirement. For example a line preceding a lighting change.
Dress: Short for dress rehearsal. The final rehearsal in full costume and makeup.
Opening the house: Often referred to as opening the doors. When the audience are allowed into the auditorium.