Author Topic: MORALE: Traditions in the Theatre  (Read 3736 times)

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RobertMillsSM

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MORALE: Traditions in the Theatre
« on: Apr 08, 2007, 05:07 am »
Hey All!
I am stage managing the first production in a brand new theatre! It is very exciting and tense at the same time. I was wondering if there were any traditions, rituals, or even superstitions that might be done prior to the first performance in the space? I do believe in the spirits of the theatre and want all parties to start out on a good note. Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:26 am by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #1 on: Apr 08, 2007, 07:23 pm »
From memory, there are no "New theatre" rituals, as most rituals are about keeping the spirits of past performers/audiences/shows/whatever happy - you have a clean slate (unless your theatre is atop a cemetery). Just enforce from the onset that you want to keep the place as free from curses as you can, and you will be fine.

OldeWolf

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #2 on: Apr 08, 2007, 08:37 pm »
Most of the companies and casts I've worked with have a Circle at House Open or about that time of any opening. Perhaps you could do something like that to commemorate the fact this is the first performance to be done in the new space, create a little Welcoming Ritual for the space, ask for dedications from cast members, or some such. We're Theatre People. Make something up, for Heaven's sake. <G> Start your own tradition.

All the world's a Stage...

avkid

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #3 on: Apr 09, 2007, 10:59 pm »
And of course,
It's bad luck to say "good luck" on opening night
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

cuelight

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10, 2007, 03:07 pm »
Quote
remind folks not to whistle backstage

Anyone know the story behind this one? I'm just curious.

centaura

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #5 on: Apr 10, 2007, 04:42 pm »
No whistling came from the days before modern rigging and fly systems.  'Hemp Houses' are what they're called now, but in olden days its just how things were flown.  There would be guys pulling the ropes to fly the scenery, without the benefit of counterweights.  Well, the best guys whow knew knots, ropes, and weren't afraid of climbing to any height were sailors.  Sailors communicated via whistles on their ships, and brought that tradition into working in theatres as their cue system.  If you whistled in a theatre, and a sailor up in the gallery thought it was a cue, you could have a piece of scenery, or something else, drop on you.

-Centaura

sievep

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2007, 11:09 am »
In certain opera companies I've worked with, purple is not allowed as a color for a costume.
Peacock feathers were not allowed onstage in another (the evil eye in the feather)

I'm not saying I believe it, just passing along someone else's craziness.

I personally have a ritual before opening night that I learned from a Venezuelan soprano who was the most superstitious person I've ever met.  She kissed the hem of the curtain before we started (kissed her hand and touched the hem of the curtain).

"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

Tempest

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Re: Traditions in the Theatre
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2007, 11:21 am »
The no-purple rule actually stems from a practical reason.  In your standard warm/cool bastard amber/midnight blue lighting set-up purple turns a rather unflattering brownish color under the amber light.

I love playing with color and light!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

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