By Binnie Christie
A list of sins committed by actors and audiences:
1. Your phone going off: There’s this amazing new phone function! It’s called the ‘off’ button. Use it… Nobody wants to hear your ring tone as you struggle to find your phone in your bag or pocket. So keep those phones quiet, otherwise you might just be called an “asshole” by Jemma Khan (as happened during ‘We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants’) or be embarrassed by King Creon (Jovan Muthray in ‘Just Antigone’).
2. Leaving/entering during a performance: Get to the theatre on time, and go to the bathroom before the show begins. The only excuse for leaving is in an emergency, like your wife having a baby or your Gran on her death bed, in which case you probably shouldn’t be at the theatre anyway… If you hate the show, bring some tomatoes instead of doing a walk-out.
3. Using a prop for anything off-stage: The Movement RSA learnt this the hard way. On a very cold night during Grahamstown Fest we used the blankets from ‘Just Antigone’ as extra bedding, and then of course forgot them as the backpackers. Poor Campbell (the fastest driver!) had to dash home to get them less than an hour before we went on… Props break, get lost or stolen, so instead of giving your stage-manager a heart attack, leave them for the show!
4. Saying ‘sorry’ if you forget your lines: There is no apology for apologizing on stage. Nor asking to start again… It’s called improv!
5. Talking during a show: A quick comment to the person next to you is alright, but if you treat a performance like the Oprah Show, other people want to stab you. This is not about you! Chat in the foyer instead and don’t heckle the performers.
6. Saying McBeezy in the theatre: This rule is so ingrained in me that I fear even writing the name of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. If you do utter it however, according to Nick Mayer (previously the Workshop manager of Wits Theatre) you must spit on the ground and turn around three times.
7. Being in costume off-stage: Mahlatsi Mokgonyana will school you on this one! (We know). Sometimes it’s difficult as an actor to run to the bathroom without passing the audience, and all performers know how nerves can affect your bladder, but either change quickly back into your regular clothes, or bring a dressing gown, robe or invisibility cloak.
Any rules we left out? Write a comment or submit your own rules.