Theater or Theatre?

Post By: The SKyPAC
Date: February 24, 2012

Some fun Theater

From the newsgroup FAQ:

“Francis Hodge published an article about this in THEATRE SURVEY
in the late 1960’s. “Theater” is a result of Noah Webster’s efforts
in the 1830s to create an American language purified of English
spellings: that’s when we lost “colour” “centre” and a lot of other
words that Noah deemed to be too British for the new American
democracy. Since the American theatre/theater at the time was still
dominated by British actors and managers, along with American actors
and managers trying to suggest that theater/theatre was a high class
art, the practitioners rather stubbornly clung to the British
spelling. There have been a lot of attempts to differentiate usage
ever since, but whatever the market or editor or style sheet will
accept will work.”

(The artistic community seems to have gravitated toward labeling the venue a Theater, while the art form is considered to be Theatre. Thus, the title of this page—Theatreer—which covers both)

Theatrical Logic

In is down, down is front
Out is up, up is back
Off is out, on is in
And of course-
Left is right and right is left
A drop shouldn’t and a
Block and fall does neither
A prop doesn’t and
A cove has no water
Tripping is OK
A running crew rarely gets anywhere
A purchase line buys you nothing
A trap will not catch anything
The gridiron has nothing to do with football
Strike is work (In fact a lot of work)
And a Green Room, thank god, usually isn’t
Now that you’re fully versed in Theatrical terms,
break a leg!
. . . but not really.

Grasp the true nature of theatreer with selected excerpts from:

Theatrical Definitions

Eternity—The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line.

Prop—A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor 30 seconds before it is needed on stage.

Director—The individual who suffers from the delusion that he or she is responsible for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.

Blocking—The art of moving actors on the stage in such a manner as not to collide with the walls, the furniture, the orchestra pit or each other. Similar to playing chess, except that the pawns want to argue with you.

Actors (as defined by a set designer)—People who stand between the audience and the set designer’s art, blocking the view. That’s also the origin of the word “blocking,” by the way.

Quality Theater—Any show with which you were directly involved.

Dress rehearsal—Rehearsal that becomes a whole new ball game as actors attempt to maneuver among the 49 objects that the set designer added at 7:30 that evening.

Set—An obstacle course which, throughout the rehearsal period, defies the laws of physics by growing smaller week by week while continuing to occupy the same amount of space.

Monologue—That shining moment when all eyes are focused on a single actor who is desparately aware that if he forgets a line, no one can save him.

Green Room—Room shared by nervous actors waiting to go on stage and the precocious children whose actor parents couldn’t get a babysitter that night, a situation which can result in justifiable homicide.

Lighting Director—Individual who, from the only vantage point offering a full view of the stage, gives the stage manager a heart attack by announcing a play-by-play of everything that’s going wrong.

Stage Crew—Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute stretches of total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic.

The “Shakespearean Insult Kit”

Sharpen your tongue with barbs from the Barb – “Thou dankish rump-fed clotpole!”

Thinking of a career in theatreer? Study these pearls of wisdom excerpted from:

An Actor’s Guide to Performance

•Hold for all laughs—real, expected, or imagined! If you don’t get one, face front and repeat the line louder. Failing this, laugh at it yourself.

• Cultivate an attitude of hostility. Tension gets results—on stage and off.

• A good performance, like concrete, should be molded quickly and then forever set.

More Theater Humor: