“Break a leg!”

Nov 19, 2011 | 1 comment

Nyel as 'Old Brandywine'

     As curtain time approaches for Shoalwater Shenanigans, we are hearing a lot of ‘theater talk’ among the actors and even from our friends.  Everyone seems to know, for instance, that it’s bad form (and bad luck) to wish an actor “good luck” so we are getting lots of admonishments to “break a leg.”
     There are many explanations for that term, the most logical being that it’s an archaic term for bowing in which the actor placed one foot behind the other and bent one knee, breaking the line of the leg.  Another explanation credits it to the ancient Greeks who applauded by stomping their feet.  Presumably, if the show was good enough and they stomped hard enough, someone might break a leg.
     The Romans on the other hand, while watching gladiators fight to the death in the coliseum, shouted the Latin equivalent of “break a leg” wishing good luck by suggesting that they keep their lives and only cripple their opponents by breaking their legs. I think I like the archaic term for bowing explanation best!
     Like many other professions, theater has a language all its own.  The actors in today’s performance are all hoping not ‘to go up’ (forget) their lines.  We are also hoping to remember our ‘blocking’ (where we move on stage) and that no one ‘chews the scenery’ (zealously overacts.)
     Since the Oysterville Church has no backstage area, our house is to serve as the ‘green room’ (the area where the actors hang out when not onstage.)  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  During the performance we will all be in full view, albeit from the back, whether or not we are onstage.  ‘The wings’ (the backstage area where actors wait to make their entrances) of necessity are the front pew. Our house. which is across the street, will be where ‘the company’ (actors, stagehands and others associated with a show)  gathers between the 3:00 o’clock matinee and the 7:00 o’clock evening performance.
     I think I heard that we are to stay in the church during intermission so that we can schmooze with audience members.  I, who suffer greatly from pre-performance nerves, am hoping that’s not true.  I’d like to save the visiting until after the final curtain.
     All of us, of course, are hoping it’s ‘SRO’ (standing room only) and ‘a good house’ (an appreciative audience).  See you there!

1 Comment

  1. Pat Krager

    The show was fabulous-!! What a great time from beginning to end.


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