15 January 2009

The Green Room

Traditionally, a green room is a room located close to a performance space. It is used as a place for actors to hang out before their cues are called to prevent them from lurking behind the set and disrupting the performance. The green room is also intended to be a public area, somewhere for members of the audience/actors' family to come after the performance to meet the actors and technicians and mingle with them. Blessedly, these rooms usually aren't painted green. At least, ours isn't...

Apparently, this room is welcome to anyone - or so I heard one of my theater professors saying while giving a tour to some people I didn't recognize - but the theater students have claimed it as their own. Its our territory, our hang out place, our turf. Some of the strangest and most interesting conversations I've ever heard have taken place on those dark green couches. I'm not sure which is more interesting: being in the conversation from the start or walking into the middle of it. Some of the topics we've discussed include:

the election - This was very interesting since everyone has such different feelings when it comes to politics. My best friend is a Libertarian and most of the students around me are Democrats. I don't hold to a straight-ticket vote, but I know I'm more Republican than Democrat. I also know that, more often than not, I'm seriously outnumbered in this room.

the inauguration - See above. Though I do support the President Elect, I saw no real purpose behind stopping the lecture so we could watch the inauguration. Then again, I've rarely understood anything that disturbs my studies, so it's nothing personal against Obama.

our school's parking problem - Man, am I glad I'm not commuting anymore!

how do mermaids have babies? - I won't even go into how this subject came up...or the answer that the carpenters came up with.

gripes about professors, parents, other students, the school's administration, etc. - An old standby. I always try to take my classmates' opinions with a grain of salt when it comes to the question of which professor to take.

if you were a serial killer, what would you want to be known for? - I've had fun with this one. Scared a few people too.

a costumed rehearsal dinner for a wedding (Marvel on one side, DC on the other) - One of the carps shared this tale. It sounded like something to be at.

what's your drag queen name? - According to the formula (first pet's name + first street you've lived on) mine would be...wait...what was the first street I lived on? Mom!

redecorating the green room (murals, an effigy of the department head, posters from shows, etc.) - This subject has been hashed and rehashed. Conclusion: the ideas are too far-fetched, we don't have enough space, we don't have the resources, and/or we're working too much during the semester to bother with decorating the space we all seem to live in when we're not in class.

dog grooming - Somebody else's hobby/side job. A few of the folks in the department can get pretty caught up in this. I usually head out to the loading dock when this comes up because they can (and have) talk for hours on end.

what new look might be required for a certain play - Since the designers of whatever production are usually sick of the script, they're not always involved. If they are, it's likely to be through sharing what they've done or explaining the guidelines they were provided by the director. Sometimes, this can be fun - if you leave the director and the money out of the picture.

which plays we will never be able to perform (Rent, Arcadia, etc.) - "Gee, I wish we could do {insert title of play here}" This list always seems to grow. We don't have the money/talent/numbers for the cast. The list of reasons is blessedly shorter.

"This one time..." - Stories of past productions... Like the time our now graduated master carp moved a platform that measured 8' x 10' and was hanging 8' in the air, supported by struts. It needed to move mere inches, but would take a lot of people...or so we thought. The 6' 2" guy, who looks like he should be named 'Bubba,' gets on a stepladder and swings his fist. Yes, he [I]punched[/I] the second floor of the set into alignment. All of a sudden, people stopped goofing off in the scene shop...

During Godspell, one cast member injured four or five other cast members in a single performance. The story is that she had made a deal with her mother - $20 for everyone she incapacitated without missing a cue. Then there was the time an actress' nose was broken by an actor's foot in the middle of a performance. And, of course, the headset chatter of the techies during any performance or the "very different story" of Godspell given by the shadows on the wall - a claim made by the stagehand who spent 2 hours a night crouched under a platform with nothing to do until the finale of the show. So many interesting stories. I love collecting them.

And that's just a small glimpse of a few of the conversations that take place in the green room. Which did you least expect? Which was your favorite?
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