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The Top Theater Myths

Theatrical superstitions and myths are real. Among the superstitious actors, it’s important to know them before ever entering or participating in a show, whether as a cast member or as an audience.
Follow along for the most famous superstitions that still linger on stages today.

Having three lit candles onstage – Having three lit candles on stage can bring bad luck. It is said that whoever is nearest to the shortest candle will be next to marry or die. Today, this is nothing but a rumor. Today, stages are instead lit by electrical lights. Instead of bad luck, having lit candles on or around the stage around flammable fresh paint, dim lighting and busy people will only burn the theater down.
Saying ‘Macbeth’ – If the name, ‘Macbeth’, is mentioned in a theatre there is a cleansing ritual to rectify the mistake. The ritual requires the person who said the name to leave the theatre building, spit, curse and spin around three times, before begging to be allowed back in. Other tricks also include, reciting a line from another Shakespearean work, brushing oneself off or running around the theatre counterclockwise. It is believed that Shakespeare got the words from a coven of real witches, and by using the word placed a curse on the play so no one, other than him, could correctly direct the play.
Bad Dress, Good Opening – Many stage actors believe that a bad and terrible dress rehearsal means a great opening night will occur. Although the origin is unclear, the comforting concept still continues today.
“Break a Leg” – Always replace the phrase “good luck” with “break a leg.” The saying might have originated from the ancient Greek practice of stomping feet instead of applauding. Others believed it could’ve originated from understudies jokingly wishing actors would “break a leg” so that their standbys were able to perform.
Flowers before the performance – Receiving flowers and a beautiful bouquet before a performance or recital is believed to cause a lackluster show. Instead, old school and new actors today require their flowers after the curtain call and never before!
Mirrors – Breaking a mirror can bring seven years of bad luck. However, breaking a mirror on stage will cause seven years of bad luck to the theatre. It is also believed that reflections from mirrors are distracting for lights, audience members and actors.

What Is An Interactive Theater?

Interactive theatre is known as a presentational or theatrical form of work that breaks the “fourth wall” that traditionally separates the performer from the audience, physically and verbally.

Traditionally, theatre performance is limited to a designated stage area and the actions of the play unfolds within interplay with audience members, who function as observers.

Conversely, in interactive theatre, performance may happen amidst audience members, and often involves the audience in more active roles. They may be asked to hold props, supply performance suggestions (as in improvisational theatre), share the action’s real-world (non-theatrical) setting (as in Site specific theatre), or become characters in the performance. In addition, the audience may be asked to participate in altering the course of the play altogether by taking part in a collective vote to help steer the plot in a new direction, as with Augusto Boal’s forum theatre. In therapeutic and educational settings, the audience may even be invited to discuss pertinent issues with the performers.

Interactive theatre is an engaging, exhilarating and transcendent experience. Here are the top two tips that engage the audience in a new, complete and convincing world.

Being consistent is the most important rule that keeps interactive theatre together. Without consistency, it creates a no point of entry that confuses the audience. Regardless of what world you create, as long as it is consistent, the audience will love it.
Accurate ratio – It’s important to have an accurate number of actors as audience members instead of having an audience outnumber the actors. When the audience effectively contribute to the atmosphere, it works. Both actors and audience equally working together on performer energy.

Interactive theatre popularity has increased and will continue to increase as more creative shows come to the stage. Check if your city or town has any interactive theatre showings!

Attending Theater Etiquette

There are unspoken rules that any theater love must know. Learning the proper way to act in a theater not only increases your level of enjoyment, but also allows you to participate as a courteous audience member, giving you the full enjoyment of the theater.
Here are a few tips on what not to do:

Don’t Use Your Phone – Leave your electronic devices in your car or turn them off once the show has begun. Along with those sitting around you, actors can see when a phone is being used and they can specifically look in the audience and see who it is. It can be very distracting and cause several interruptions to production. Instead, be respectful of the actors and the rest of the audience and remain attentive to the show.

Leaving During A Show – Leaving during a performance is considered to be highly disrespectful. Unless there is an extreme emergency, it should never be done. Visiting restrooms and getting snacks before, after or during intermission is always highly recommended. It’s also important to always remember to never rush towards the exits after the performance. It is very rude to the actors.

Snacking – Do not eat or drink during the performance. It can be too distracting and out of consideration to the actors and your neighbors, save it for intermission.

Don’t Take Photos – Taking pictures, audio-taping and video-recording during a theater play is illegal. If caught, you’ll be asked to leave. Why? Flash photos can be dangerous to the actors, causing them to be temporarily dazzled by the flash and step off the stage. It also goes against copyright issues with taking of photos and videos. In most cases, performers are always available after the show in the lobby for autographs and pictures.

Don’t Mimic – Please do not sing along, hum, whistle or whisper during a performance.
Applause – Performers greatly appreciate enthusiastic applause, shouts of “Bravo” or “brava” and standing ovations. Applaud only after a well performed song or dance during a scene, after each scene or act and at curtain call.

Attending the theater is fun, but it does require perfect manners to ensure everyone’s good time. With the help of this list, you will optimize your chances of having a memorable experience.

Plays that turned into movies

Ever thought of which plays have turned into movies? It is very common for a popular play, after all the success it has, be turned into a movie. Among the most popular is Hamlet, and although there are several variations of the movie, everyone knows the most common one: The Lion King. There are some academics who believe stage plays can easily lend themselves to big screen adaptations– Both have traditional resemblance of narrative structures, use actors to transmit dramatic actions, as well as the use of spoken dialogue.

Here’s a list of plays turned to movies that you should check out today!

The Philadelphia Story – Play by Phillip Barry and screenplay by Donald Ogden Steward, the play was a huge success on Broadway and is known as Hepburn’s greatest comeback. The play was turned into a film in 1940, starring Katherine Hepburn. It’s a story of a divorced socialite, Tracy Lord, who’s preparing for her second marriage, but things get complicated with a simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband.

Amadeus – Written by Peter Shaffer, the play was adapted into the big screen in 1984 casting Mark Hamill as Mozart. It’s known as one of the greatest plays and movies about the creative and genius process. It tells a story of Antonio Salieri, who gets jealous that God favors Mozart with divine inspiration.

Les Misérables – The first stage production was presented at a Paris sports arena. However, in 1983 produce Cameron Mackintosh received a copy of the French concept album and was impressed enough to produce an English-language version of the show. It premiered on Broadway in 1987 and after sixteen years with 6,680 performances, it closed on May, 2013. Many adaptations of film were made with the most recent one in 2012, with Anne Hathaway winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting actress.

Musicals on Netflix

Do you ever get the urge to watch a live musical, only to realize you don’t have the funds or a local theater hosting a musical of your interest? Well, maybe you should check on Netflix! Curious as to which ones are available? Check out the following list:

Rent:

A rock musical follows the story of poor young artists who are all connected and struggling to survive and create a life in New York City while the HIV/AIDS epidemic surrounds them.

Grease:

This is a classic, coming-of-age musical based in the late 50s that follows ten middle-class teens managing typical teen peer pressure, politics, values and, of course, love. Within this story, during summer break, Danny and Sandy fall in love. However, once school begins, Danny struggles to find the balance between his feelings for Sandy and his bad-boy image as a T-Bird.

Shrek, the Musical:

Based on the animated movie of the same name, the musical tells the story of a green ogre who, in an attempt to get his secluded home back from fairy-tale characters, he winds up falling in love with a princess with a lifelong secret.

Hairspray:

In 1960s Baltimore, a young big-haired teen, Tracy Turnblad’s dream of performing in a TV Dance Show comes to reality after learning a few new dance moves from her black friend Seaweed. While on the show, she finds herself advocating for racial integration.

Hello Dolly:

This musical follows the story of an outspoken matchmaker who attempts to marry a half-millionaire merchant all while setting up a young clerk with his assistant with a widowed milliner and her assistant.

 

What musicals do you wish were on Netflix?

Popular Valentine’s Day Musicals

 

With the celebration of love and friendship fast approaching, we have decided to share with you five popular Valentine’s Day Musicals to look out for and go watch with a significant other or a dear friend.

 

Honeymoon in Vegas:

This musical follows a regular guy named Jack with a fear of marriage who ends up building up courage to ask his girlfriend, Betsy, hand in marriage. However, after arriving in Las Vegas to wed, a dashing gambler falls in love with Betsy and threatens to take her away to live luxuriously with him.

First Date:

A mismatched pair goes on a blind date after being set up by a mutual friend. Throughout the course of their date, their exes and other surprising personas visit them through their imaginations. In the end, sparks may or may not fly.

Dirty Dancing:

This is a classic coming-of-age, 60’s musical of 17 year-old ‘Baby’ who goes to a resort with her family during summer vacation. While having a hard time finding activities that interested her, she finally finds her source of entertainment through raunchy dancing.  

Kinky Boots:

This musical, very much like the indie film of the same name, follows the story of two completely different men, Charlie and Lola, who find valuable friendship within each other after coming up with the brilliant idea of creating “kinky boots” for men. Eventually, it helps keep Charlie’s family’s shoe factory business alive.

West Side Story:

Based off of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” this musical takes place in 1950s Manhattan while being dominated by rival gangs, Sharks and Jets. While at a dance, Jets’ good-boy Tony and Sharks’ sister Maria fall in love. Throughout the musical, these two lovers try to find a way to be together while tensions begin to escalate between the rival gangs.

Which ones are your favorite?

Stage Lighting Tips

Each production requires the right, unique lighting to help set the tone, mood and overall scenario. Because of this, we have compiled some lighting information to help guide you towards the right lighting production for your show.

 

Vertical slanted light in front of subject:

This kind of stage lighting helps place focus on the subject’s face, shining on its eyes and mouth. However, it could cause the light to extend further upstage, which can cause the subject’s shadow to also extend onto the backdrop/scenery.  

 

Lighting in front and below subject:

Lights that are shining upwards from the bottom of the stage can soften the subjects features but, it can also be very unnatural. Using this technique could also cause the shadow to extend and elongate the shadow behind the subject, which can be completely distracting and unflattering for the scenery.

 

Vertical light directly above subject:

Although this lighting technique completely eliminates the issue of shadows extending onto the scenery, it can inhibit the facial features of the subject.

 

Horizontal in front of subject:

This technique also help the shadows issue since the shadow is of actual size and directly behind the subject, which will avoid any scenery disruptions. A major issue with this technique, however, is that it can flatten, not only the facial features of the subject but, the entire depth of every stage object.

 

Vertical behind, slanted towards subject:

Because this lighting is shining behind the subject, facial features will not be visible and the shadow will extend towards the front of the stage instead of upstage towards the scenery. However, this kind of lighting helps bring the production to life by giving the stage more depth.
Playing around with the different types of lighting, and mix and matching, can help you decide on the perfect lighting for every scene in the show. Remember that each lighting technique is crucial to setting the right mood, so each lighting technique can be different depending on the tone of the scenes.

How to Make School Productions a Success

 

Producing any show can be a ton of work and can be incredibly time consuming. When that production is a school play, it can be even more difficult when most of those who are involved are adolescents and the help you receive is limited. However, if this is the first time you are putting on a school production, don’t panic! There are a ton of school productions that turn out to be successful. We have gathered some tips to help you ensure a successful school production.

 

Have you chosen a production to work on, yet? When deciding on the show, consider your current assets such as the stage you have access to and your budget. You will also have to consider the time frame, the ages of your actors, and the audience you will have the performance for.

 

If the production you are thinking about using is popular throughout multiple generations but happens to contain some controversial aspects, consider looking at all available versions of it and choose the one that would work best, or communicate the production with the principle of the school. Note that productions that may work for one school audience may not be as accepted by others.

 

Once you have chosen on the right production, create a detailed production calendar that not only includes rehearsal dates but also the contact information for everyone involved in the production. Share a copy of the calendar with everyone involved in the production, as well. Most importantly, stay in constant communication with everyone about any changes or new information that may rise. If you are working with a much younger age group, make sure to stay in constant communication with their parents about rehearsals and such, as well.

 

When it comes to holding auditions, remember that theater is inclusive. Allow for any student who wants to participate in the production to do so, if not through acting roles, then through more technical roles such as backstage work, stage prop creation, selling tickets, and so on.

 

Once you have decided on each student’s role in the production, and rehearsals have begun, assure that you are giving all actors equal attention. It is easy to “lose track” and place most of your focus on the lead characters, but in order to have a successful production, small roles should be just as strong as lead roles.

 

Producing a show on your own can be incredibly difficult, so don’t be afraid to work with others. Accept the help when offered and, seek for help when needed. Remember that any help can be beneficial.
In the end, make sure you have chosen a production you enjoy since most of your time and efforts will be placed on it for months to come. Also, remember that even the most rehearsed productions are not guaranteed a perfect, mistake-free show!

Popular Holiday Performances (Pt. 2)

The holiday season has a significant way of joining people of different backgrounds and from different communities together. Holiday productions are one way to do just that. Below is a continuation of the most popular holiday productions to look for in a community near you!

Miracle on 34th Street

This Meredith Willson musical is based on the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Both film and musical follow the life of a single mother who has done her best to teach her six-year-old daughter about the fake romantic notions that come with the holiday. All of this changes, however, when a neighbor tries to pursue the mother by becoming friends with the daughter.

Holiday Inn

Although all multiple other holidays are depicted in this musical, it is still a great winter holiday performance! Story follows a farmer who was a former dancer, who transforms his farmhouse into an inn that opens only during the holidays. He wines up falling in love with an aspiring singer and tries to convince her to stay with him in the Inn.

“The Chanukkah Guest”

This is a classic holiday story by Eric A. Kimmel about an old woman who feeds a friendly bear her famous potato latkes without realizing it. The production carries a heartwarming message and features music like “The Magic Dreidels,” “Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky” and “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins.”

It’s a Wonderful Life

This Frank Capra Film, based on The Greatest Gift, is transformed into a musical production while still following the story of a suicidal man whose guardian angel takes into a journey to see how different the world would be if he had never been born.

Madeline’s Christmas

Madeline’s Christmas is one of the great holiday musicals for all families. It follows Madeline and her boarding school friends as they prepare to go home for the holidays. Unfortunately, they all catch the flu right before Christmas but are taken into an unexpected adventure!

With the many more holiday productions out there, there are some other ones that were not mentioned. Which, other holiday productions are you excited to see?

Popular Holiday Performances (Pt. 1)

 

December is an exciting month for many reasons, one being holiday performances! Every year, schools and communities perform one of many holiday productions. There is no better season for all communities to come together like that of the holiday season. Because of this, we have compiled a two-part blog of popular holiday productions to look out for in communities near you to help you get into the festive mood. Follow along to discover the popular holiday performances.

“A Christmas Carol”

This is a Charles Dickens’ classic story of a bitter old man, known as Scrooge, who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. With each visit, Scrooge is taken into a journey, from his past, his present and future. Through these journeys, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, more generous man.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

This is a musical rendition of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday story. It brings the book to life as it takes the audience on a journey along with the Grinch as he learns about all the great things Christmas truly has to offer. Classic songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “I Hate Christmas Eve” are featured in the musical.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

With the many commercial traditions, it can be easy to lose track of what Christmas is really all about. Just like in the real world, this musical rendition of A Charlie Brown Christmas follows Charlie and the Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas.

“The Nutcracker”

Although it doesn’t fall under the musical category, the ballet performance is definitely a true holiday classic. The story is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice.” It follows the dream of a young German girl where a Nutcracker prince takes her in a journey through the enchanted forest wonderland.

“Elf the Musical”

Like the movie Elf, the musical is based on the story of a young orphan child named Buddy who is raised by Santa’s elves after crawling into his bag of gifts.

After finding out that he is a real boy, he travels back home to meet his family and attempts to make them and all other New Yorkers believe in Santa.

If you are holding one of these productions, or any other, and need help deciding on a backdrop, visit our website or call Backdrops by Charles H Stewart!