Acronyms and Oddities

  • User Deleted

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    I thought it might be interesting to discuss some of the strange customs, meanings and other oddities associated with our business...yes?

    Here are TWO to start you all off on one! (So to speak)

    We all know and love that brilliant utterance after a hard day's or night's sitting around a set doing nothing...."IT'S A WRAP!"

    What does it mean...REALLY mean?

    Well "WRAP" stands for "Wind Reel And Print"(last thing said on the pre-war film sets.)

    Secondly, how many budding ASMs have been sent looking for "The Grid Key" on their first theatre backstage job?

    Your turn...make us all laugh!

    • 10th Aug 2007
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  • Jason Haigh

    Actor

    I was told by a very experienced fight director not to whistle on stage or in it's vicinity whilst rehearsing.The reason being apparently that in days of yore sailors used to operate the flys and scenery and used whistling as cues to bring in the big scenery changes.So if you don't want to be hit by a flying backdrop during your big number,good advice i guess.

    • 3rd Aug 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    Lil...The Grid Key? I THINK Alan has one...if not I'm sure he'll tell you who has one around here!

    • 3rd Aug 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    A Grid Key is....held by only those who are entrusted to keep it's secrets! I'm sorry that I cannot impart the True Wisdom of the Grid Key to anyone not already in the know until I'm on my death bed and then only to one who is qualified to carry it.

    Otherwise my heart will be rent out and buried a cable's length from the shore on which the sea regularly ebbs and flows!

    • 3rd Aug 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    Lil...I was told by an ex director of the Bolton Octagon that ALAN might well be holder of one of the Grid Keys. As such, he is INDEED sworn to secrecy as to its import by The One Who Watches Over Him.

    If Alan fears the wrath of Sir John Gielgud's ghost then...perhaps...our own Leer Avitz might know of someone here who would oblige...I DARE NOT I'm afraid!

    • 3rd Aug 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    All right...here is the truth about the Grid Key.....aaaarrrgh!

    • 3rd Aug 2007
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  • Kenneth McConnell

    Actor

    Break a leg: The assasination of President Lincoln,John W Booth jumps onto the stage and breaks a leg after shooting Lincoln. Hence the phrase.

    • 4th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I profess to know nothing of the grid key. Though I may have an inkling.

    Apparently, no - one knows why they call a 'green room' a 'green room', either.

    I remember someone telling me something like: when the lighting in the theatres was provided by using the phosphorescent properties of burning lime (hence, naturally, being 'in the limelight') in the nineteenth century, you didn't wear green because the lime gives off a greeny sort of light. This, meant that if you wore green, you couldn't be seen nearly as well from the back rows of the theatre. Hence, actors remain superstitious about wearing green. Supposedly.

    Similarly, as regards the famed 'unluckiness' of performing the 'Scottish play', although most people seem to think it has to do with the content hardly proving conducive to generating 'good vibes' (might the same not be said of Hamlet, Lear etc.???!), one school of thought maintains it was, rather, 'bad luck' to perform that particular piece of Shakespearean brilliance because it always brought in an audience. Idiotic though that sounds, the idea was that, if you were already down on your luck, you needed to promote a crowd pleaser in the season, and that was when M**beth (see what I did there?:)) was rolled out. In other words, to perform it was a clear indicator that you had run out of ideas/money/public support.

    So they say...

    • 4th Aug 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    Oh dear, Lil! Don't stamp your Surrey foot too hard or you might just "break a leg!" Lol!

    Here are some more superstitions that I remember. Where might THEY have originated I wonder?

    Wearing the colors blue and yellow will cause actors to forget lines.

    Wearing green is unlucky.

    There should be no peacock feathers inside a theatre.

    No real flowers, mirrors or jewelry should ever be used on stage.

    You should use a rabbit's foot to apply makeup.

    You should never clean your makeup box.

    You should NEVER wear brand-new makeup on opening night.

    Never place shoes or hats on chairs or tables inside the dressing rooms.

    Always exit the dressing room left foot first.

    Absolutely no knitting in the wings.

    Never open a show on a Friday night.

    Never speak the last line of a play before opening night.

    • 4th Aug 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    I should point out here that all actors are superstitious to a degree.

    All those superstitions are based on the fact thatno-one wants to be responsible for a show 'closing' early. So the 'last line' and 'shoes on chairs or tables' always refer to the end of the play, packing up, etc.

    It's generally believed that if everyone involved with the show thinks positively about it then it will run forever.

    A lot the others can often be put down to 'distractions' on stage that make you forget your lines. Catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, for example, could make you think of what you look like and so change your mind set at a crucial moment! Real jewelry can throw off a sharp light which could also be distracting for the audience as well as the actors.

    I'm not superstitious at all. I just don't allow anyone to mention the Scottish play, whistle, wear real jewelry or drink my tea in the green room before a play performance. Since I always seem to have the last line of the play, these days, I never remember it so that isn't a problem.

    In Blood Brothers there was a new immature cast member who was discussing these superstitions before his first performance and took great delight in making sure he did everything that he wasn't supposed to superstitously speaking. That was the first (and last, I'm sure) night that the gun shot went off prematurely at the end of the show!

    I covered it with 'That was a warning shot, Mickey. Put the gun down!' But it proves the point!

    • 5th Aug 2007
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  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    I have no time for superstitions myself but I do try and be understanding of other peoples feelings and not do anything to upset them if they have a real belief in it.

    Do you really honestly think that any of those things actually effect the show/performance? If things go badly it's for other reasons or just coincidence.

    • 5th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    John Wilkes Booth, incidentally, broke his leg because he got one of his riding spurs stuck in the bunting that was adorning one of the boxes (I think it had been laid out especially to celebrate the fact that the President was in to see the show that night). He proceeded to land very heavily on the stage. This has always struck me as quite an amusing mixture of the tragic and the absurd.

    Another interesting 'theatrically' related fact about the killing of Lincoln is not that Booth was an actor (I think most of us are vaguely aware of that), nor that he came from one of the most respected acting families in the USA at the time (although he did - though his brother was the real 'star'), nor even that he had performed in a number of productions of 'Julius Caesar' and came over all Roman Republican on the night ('sic semper tyrannis' - 'so do all tyrants [perish]' was his cry as he shot the President). No, I still think the most interesting fact about all this was that Booth knew the play that Lincoln was watching that night (a hugely popular piece called 'Our American Cousin') so well (because, again, he'd acted it more than a few times) that he deliberately chose to fire the shot at the point in the play at which he knew the biggest laugh of the night would be produced. This would have served as good temporary cover for Booth's action if he hadn't got that spur tangled up...though it may also be the worst case of upstaging the business has ever known. Tells you something about the man. Who knows?

    Hardly a comment on a theatrical superstition, but I do love an oddity. I'll see if I can find anymore soon.

    • 5th Aug 2007
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  • Nadia Ostacchini

    Actor

    I still never go under any ladders. However, I remember I always felt I had to take my "Rescue Remedy" at drama school and probably for a year or so after graduating, just to relax me before I went on stage. As I became more confident within myself as an actress, I forgot to take it oneday and haven't taken it since. It basically consists of various different ingredients thrown into a grape alcohol solution!

    • 5th Aug 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    'I'm not superstitious' the Mother said 'No, I'm not superstitious' the Mother said!

    One of my lines in Blood Brothers after Mrs Johnson saw new shoes on the table! Then goes into a mad fugue until they are taken off the table by the woman who put them there!

    That reminds me of you, Libi!

    'I'm not superstitious' but three footed rabbits inhabit your garden, right?

    • 5th Aug 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    This thread seems to have been enjoyed by all BUT we seem to be short on acronyms!

    One I remember. Why is the loo on an outside location called "The Honey Wagon"?

    HEY, LET'S MAKE SOME UP! Here are some to start you off....

    GMTV...

    Give Me The Valium

    JAWS...

    Just A White Shark

    HAIR

    Hippies And Idiots Rejoice

    THE SOUND OF MUSIC...

    This Has Everything: Singing Orphans, Uctuous Nuns, Dancing Over Flowery Mountains, Unnecessary Sweetness In Concert

    Heeeheeee...

    • 6th Aug 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    More I found on The Net:

    ANIMAL HOUSE => "Adolescents Need Idiotic Moves, And Landis Has Obliged Us"

    DRACULA => Dark Royal As Cunning Undead Lady Attacker

    DUNE => Dull, Uninteresting, Needs Editing

    EVITA => Endless Vivacity In The Argentine

    MASH => Medical Army Surviving Horrors

    RAMBO => Rocky As Military Bozo in Orient

    STAR TREK => Space Tirade About Romulan Tyrannical Rule, Evil Klingons

    THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER => The Heated Event Has Unfolded Now, That Foxy Old Red Russian Earns Defection Over Crisis, The Operative Bought: Enigmatic Ryan

    TWIN PEAKS => The Wierdest Imagary Never Previously Encountered, Also Kompletely Surreal

    WAYNE'S WORLD => Wacky And Young Newcomers Excite Screen With Original Repartee, Lunacy, Dialogue

    YENTL => You Evidently Need Talmudic Learning

    • 6th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Here is my version of CABARET, Nigel:

    Chanteuse Arouses Berlin Amidst Right - Wingers Escalating Terror.

    Stay tuned. There may be more.

    • 6th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Damn, got me started now. Please note - that in the example above, I shouldn't have emphasised the 'W' in right - wingers, because that just makes me look like I was trying to spell the title, CABERWET, doesn't it? Anyway...

    One of my favourite plays:

    WOYZECK - Weary, Overburdened Yobbo Zealously Ensures Calamitous Killing.

    Time for a break.

    • 6th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    HENRY V - Heroic English Nationalist Royal Yells 'Victory!'

    • 6th Aug 2007
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Clearly, this is a hidden talent I never knew I possessed (it should go on my Spotlight form immediately):

    PYGMALION - Pretty Young Girl Masters A Lexicon Impressively Once Nurtured.

    • 6th Aug 2007
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