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MadStage Presents: Theater Humor...

Ten Reasons to Take an Improv Class:

10. Liberate your inner child

9. Enhance the way you make stuff up all the time.

8. Create characters to respond to telemarketers.

7. Try something legal for a change.

6. Develop your inherent shtick.

5. Fine tune the way you already dance around issues.

4. Take a risk with your clothes on.

3. Act out with guidance.

2. Sound cool saying: Can't meet tonight--got my improv class.

1. Learn how to network using props.

How Many Theater People Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb . . .?

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
All of them. One to do it, and the rest to talk about how much better they could have done it.

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Just complain to the director at notes.

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Doesn't the stage manager do that?

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
Nobody knows. They can never find their light.

How many stage managers does it take to screw in a ...
Done.

How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
I DON'T CARE!!! JUST DO IT!!!

How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Where's IATSE?

How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
It's on my list... IT'S ON MY LIST...

How many assistant directors does it take to change a light bulb?
One. But he/she has to check with the director first to make sure he/she wants the bulb there.

How many directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Well...um...what do you think?

How many lighting techs does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Nothing happens on that @#$%ing side of the stage anyway!

How many designers does it take to change a light bulb?
Does it have to be a light bulb?

How many playwrights does it take to change a light bulb?
Change? Why does it have to change? No changes, it's perfect just the way it is.

How many directors does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Give a note to the stage manager to fix it!

How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Pull the technical director off of a set installation to deal with it.

How many technical directors does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Call the master electrician at home to fix it.

How many master electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
We don't change bulbs, only halogen lamps. It's a Props problem.

How many props masters does it take to change a light bulb?
Light bulb?! When did they even get a lamp?

How many theater critics does it take to change a light bulb?
All of them. One to be highly critical of the design elements, one to express contempt for the glow of the lamp, one to lambaste the interpretation of wattage used, one to observe how trite the use of a light bulb was, one to critique the performance of the bulb itself, one to recall superb light bulbs of past seasons and lament how this one fails to measure up, and all to join in the refrain reflecting on how they could build a better light bulb in their sleep.

How many theater students does it take to change a light bulb?
Uh, what's the deadline, 'cause I may need an extension.

How many audience members does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. One to do it, one child to cry, and one to say loudly, "ROSE, HE'S CHANGING THE LIGHT BULB."

How many interns does it take to change a light bulb?
It doesn't matter because you'll have to do it again anyway.

How many producers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Why do we need another light bulb?

How many IATSE guys does it take to change a light bulb?
One, once he puts down the donut and coffee.

How many IATSE guys does it take to change a light bulb?
Twenty-five, with a minimum of four hours... you got a @!%#&!* problem with that?

How many lighting designers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Where's my assistant?

How many high school theater students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two, if they can find a lamp big enough and figure out how to get inside it.

How many electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
Lamp! It's called a LAMP, you moron!

(Submitted by Kelli Clement)

Small Professional Theater 1.0 Tech Support

Dear Sirs;

Last year I upgraded from Community Theater 5.0 to Small Professional Theater 1.0 and noticed that the new program began making unexpected changes. It installed something called Microsoft Stagemanager (TM) which it launches whenever rehearsal software is powered up, severely limiting access to munchies, praise, and practical joke applications that operated flawlessly under Community Theater 5.0. No mention of this phenomenon was included in the product brochure.

In addition, Stage Manager 1.0 uninstalls many other valuable programs such as Hamming 2.0, Smoking in costume 7.5, Coming and Going at will 5.6, Unlimited Comps 8.3 and Borrowing Theater's Equipment 2.3 and installs new, undesirable programs such as Schedule 3.1, Discipline 1.3, Expectations 5.0, and Accountability 2.4. Divafit 4.1 no longer runs at all, and invariably crashes the system. Under no circumstances will it run Whining 14.1. I've tried running Attitude 5.3 to fix Stage Manager 1.0, but this all purpose utility is of limited effectiveness. Can you help please ?!!!!

Jane


Dear Jane:

This is a very common problem many actors complain about, but is mostly due to a primary misconception. Many people upgrade from Community Theater 5.0 to Small Professional Theater 1.0 with no idea that Community Theater 5.0 is merely an ENTERTAINMENT package for actors.

However, Small Professional Theater 1.0 is a performance OPERATING SYSTEM and was designed by its creator to run as few applications as possible, eliminating unnecessary routines and delegating as many tasks as it can to the enduser in order to conserve all system resources for its own use. It is impossible to uninstall, delete, or purge the Stage Manager files from the system, once installed, as Stage Manager 1.0 rewrites your other software so that it rejects Community Theater 5.0 routines once exposed to SM's superior methods.

Having Stage Manager 1.0 installed myself, I would suggest you read the entire section of the owners manual regarding General Director Faults (GDFs). This is a wonderful feature of Stage Manager 1.0, secretly installed by the parent company as an integral part of the operating system. Stage Manager 1.0 will take on ALL responsibility for ALL faults and problems, regardless of root cause, and will somehow solve EVERYTHING. To activate this great feature enter the command C:\ DIRECTOR\SCATTERED DREAMER-SENSITIVE ARTIST\CAN'T FUNCTION WITHOUT YOU

Sometimes ActorsRIdiots 6.0 or higher must be run simultaneously while entering the command. Stage Manager 1.0 should then run the applications Organize 12.3 and Miracles 7.8.

TECH TIP! Avoid excessive use of this feature. Overuse can create additional and more serious GDFs, and ultimately you may have to give a C:\APOLOGIZE\RAISE\PERSONAL DAY command before the system will return to normal operations. Overuse can also cause Stage Manager 1.0 to default to GrumpySilence 2.5, or worse yet, ArtSearch 6.0. GrumpySilence 2.5 is a very bad program that can create Disfunctional.acting files that clog all rehearsal and performance programs and are very hard to delete. Save yourself some trouble by following this tech tip! Just remember, the system will run smoothly and take the blame for all GDFs, but because of this fine feature it can only intermittently run all the entertainment applications Community Theater 5.0 ran.

After several years of use, Stage Manager 1.0 will become familiar and you will find many valuable embedded features such as FixesBrokenThings 2.1 and Ensemble Loyalty 4.2.

A final word of caution! Do NOT, under any circumstances, install any version of MeddlesomAdministrator. This is not a supported application, and will cause selective shut down of the operating system. StageManager 1.0 will run only CurtGoingThrutheMotions and CovertArtSearch until MeddlesomeAdministrator is uninstalled. I hope these notes have helped. Thank you for choosing to install Small Professional Theater 1.0 and we here at Tech Support wish you the best of luck in coming years.

Tech Support

(Submitted by Amy Cumblad)

A Smoke-Free Carmen

by Denis Dutton

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last year Auckland Opera received complaints when its advertising posters for Bizet's Carmen showed offensive cleavage. In deciding to withdraw the posters, the general manager of Auckland Opera sensibly explained, "It behooved us to find a more imaginative way to sell our product than just to resort to blatant sexist imagery." In the new ads Carmen had a completely covered chest.

Auckland Opera has taken a step in the right direction of providing a more wholesome, nonsexist Carmen. It is regrettable, however, that the recent Canterbury Opera Carmen continued to promote inappropriate role models and behavioural messages regarding gender relations, animal rights issues and tobacco consumption. Admittedly, some of these problems are incorrectly dealt with in Prosper Merimee's original story. Yet a few minor changes would enable audiences to enjoy the beautiful music of the opera without being exposed to offensive and outdated stereotypes. Herewith, a Carmen for our time:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The first scene takes place in a square in Seville. Young factory workers spill into the street for their morning break of fresh fruit. One of them, the dark Gypsy Carmen, sings a lovely habanera, reminding us that love occurs between all genders, races and body types. Before returning to the factory, Carmen throws a rose to the Basque soldier, Don Jose. A fight breaks out between two of the young persons in the factory, and while trying to instruct them on the futility of violence, Carmen is arrested. Don Jose is ordered to guard her, but she convinces him to allow her to escape, explaining that they are all victims of patriarchal oppression.

The second act opens in the smoke-free environment of a vegetarian restaurant. Carmen and ethnically-diverse friends are enjoying whole-meal buns when they are interrupted by the wicked Escamillo, a rich and famous bullfighter. Escamillo sings an aria in praise of wine, cigars, thick steaks and women. This disgusts the young people, although Carmen is strangely attracted to the bullfighter. Don Jose arrives and, alone at last, he and Carmen vow to live together. They will respect the importance of protected sex and acknowledge each other's unique cultural identity. Don Jose will do the ironing.

The third act opens in a wild place in the mountains. Carmen, Don Jose and other members of the Animal Liberation Collective are plotting to end the exploitation of bulls. Don Jose is enraged when Carmen nobly volunteers to seduce Escamillo, so exhausting him that he will be unable effectively to fight in the bullring. Carmen patiently explains that the lives of many bulls, and the contentedness of cows, is at stake. Escamillo enters and begins a duel with Don Jose, but the Collective intervenes, insisting that the two men find viable nonviolent means to settle their dispute. The jealous Don Jose must seek anger-management counseling.

The final scene returns to Seville. Escamillo's colourful procession enters the bullring. A disheveled Don Jose confronts Carmen. He is suffering from low self-esteem. Counseling has only made his anger worse, recovering repressed childhood memories of satanic rituals, where he was forced to drink blood, eat babies, and smoke cheap, unfiltered cigarettes. Acknowledging his trauma, Carmen insists he begin the healing process by getting a bath and a shave. The two lovers embrace and detail plans to offer workshops in cultural identity and empowerment.

The bull wins.

 

You Know When You've Been In The Theatre (Theater) Too Much When...

Your weekend consists of Monday, and only Monday.

"Q" is not just a letter.

You feel lucky when you get a two-day weekend instead of a three-day weekend

You're off when everyone else is working

You know more than one theory for the origin of the name "green room."

You say "break a leg" to friends en route to job interviews or weddings rather than "good luck."

You can only read from a light that is blue.

You consider the red part of the stoplight the "standby."

You cant remember what daylight looks like.

You feel naked without your keys attached to your belt loop, or your belt without your Maglite, Leatherman and Gerber.

95% of your wardrobe is black

You watch the Super Bowl waiting for intermission, not half-time

You tell more stories of what went wrong on shows you've done than what went smoothly

You start wondering what it feels like to be a prop

You know anything can be fixed with gaffe tape, Morlite, sculpt-er-coast, a sharpie, tie-line and a safety pin.

Your diet consists of fast food or microwave food.

Your Halloween costume in some way utilizes running blacks and gaffe tape.

Varying your diet means ordering the #2 instead of the #3 or eating with your left hand instead of your right

You understand the jokes in Forbidden Broadway

You insist on spelling "theatre" with an "re" not an "er."

People recognize you by the sound of your keys jingling down the hallway.

Going to a restaurant means ordering and sitting down in McDonald's rather than the drive through.

You'd heard of Mandy Patinkin before he was on "Chicago Hope"

"Practical" and "flat" are nouns.

Instead of saying that you're leaving, you say you're exiting

At home, you "strike" the dishes in your kitchen

If someone asks you what time it is, you respond with something like, "Half hour 'til half hour."

...and they said it wasn't glamorous in theatre (er).

-Fade to Black

Submitted by Barbara Thomas

 

The "Shakespearean Insult Kit"

To construct a Shakespearean insult, combine one word from each of the three columns below and preface it with "Thou."

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

artless

bawdy

beslubbering

bootless

churlish

cockered

clouted

craven

currish

dankish

paunchy

pribbling

puking

puny

qualling

rank

reeky

spongy

surly

tottering

unmuzzled

vain

venomed

villainous

warped

wayward

weedy

yeasty

base-court

bat-fowling

beef-witted

beetle-headed

boil-brained

clapper-clawed

clay-brained

common-kissing

crook-pated

dismal-dreaming

ill-breeding

ill-nurtured

knotty-pated

milk-livered

motley-minded

onion-eyed

plume-plucked

rude-growing

rump-fed

shard-borne

sheep-biting

spur-galled

swag-bellied

tardy-gaited

tickle-brained

toad-spotted

unchin-snouted

weather-bitten

apple-john

baggage

barnacle

bladder

boar-pig

bugbear

bum-bailey

canker-blossom

clack-dish

clotpole

lout

maggot-pie

malt-worm

mammet

measle

minnow

miscreant

pignut

puttock

pumpion

ratsbane

scut

skainsmate

strumpet

varlet

vassal

whey-face

wagtail

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.

Your first responsibility as an actor is to find your light.

Do not listen to your fellow actors on stage. It will only throw you.

Do not look at them either---you may not like what you see.

Always be specific---point to what you're talking about.

If a line isn't working for you, change it.

Stage Managers are NOT actors---ignore them. Keep them alert by never arriving on time or signing in.

Never be afraid to ad-lib to get attention, especially if you feel the leads aren't very entertaining.

Mistakes are never your fault.

Always find something to bitch about, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your fellow actors will respect your professional attention to detail.

Never carry make-up---someone will have what you need.

Never help understudies. (They secretly hate you and want your job)

Do help your fellow actors by giving them notes whenever you feel necessary.

And give the notes immediately before they go on---it will be fresher that way.

Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language.

Keep other performers on their toes by ridiculing their performances, and never let them know what you're going to do next.

Play the reality---always be aware of the audience and whether you think they like the show, then gauge your performance accordingly. Why knock yourself out for ungrateful snobs?

The only difference between an amateur and a pro is that the pro does exactly the same thing for money.

Need a character? Get a costume.

Never change anything that is working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem.

When in doubt about an ad-lib, go "whoo"!

Go up on a line? Clap twice, look at the audience, and giggle.

Even if a piece of "shtick" doesn't work, keep using it. The important thing is for you to have fun and feel good about yourself.

Submitted by Kelli Clement

Signs you have been on the road too long:

1. You think sleeping in the console lid is comfortable

2. You never use the living room anymore cause the acoustics suck

3. Your welcome mat is gaffed down

4. You made a tape of the tour bus engine to play at night when you sleep

5. All your furniture has wheels

6. You have re-wired your whole house to use Hubbell Twist-lok plugs

7. You are home for a week before you stop dialing 9 for an outside line

8. Somebody gives you the thumbs up in the street, and you look for the monitor desk to turn up the mix

9. You lose interest in groupies

10. Your clothing no longer resides in a dresser, but rather a duffle bag

11. You have actually installed a 3 phase service in your house so that lighting and audio are on separate legs to eliminate hum and buzz

12. Your favorite incense smells like rosin core solder

13. When you are at home, you ask your parents what is the per-diem per day

14. Everything you own has your name on it and is stenciled "FOH" with krylon

15. Your home stairs are replaced with a ramp to facilitate EASY load in

16. Your kids entire wardrobe consists of your old road shirts.

Submitted by Matt Rockwell

 

You know you worked in Community theater if...

* your living room sofa spends more time on stage than you do.
* you have your own secret family recipe for stage blood.
* you've ever appeared on stage wearing your own clothes.
* you can find a prop in the prop room that hasn't seen the light of day in ten years, but you don't know where your own vacuum cleaner is.
* you've ever appeared in or worked on a production of Love, Sex and the IRS, or any other show written by Van Zandt and Milmore.
* you have a Frequent Shopper Card at The Salvation Army.
* you start buying your work clothes at Goodwill so you can buy your costumes at the mall.
* you've ever cleaned a tuxedo with a magic marker.
* you've ever said, "Don't worry - we'll just hot glue it."
* you've ever appeared on stage in an outfit held together with hot glue.
* you've ever seriously considered not doing in the murder victim because the gunshot might wake up the audience.
* you name your son Samuel and tell him that his middle name is in honor the French side of the family.
* you've ever appeared in a show where tech week is devoted to getting the running time under four and a half hours.
* your lighting director has ever missed a cue because he was blinded by the glare from the sea of bald heads in the audience.
* you've ever appeared on stage in an English drawing room murder mystery where half the cast spoke with southern accents.
* you've ever called for a line -- in front of an audience.
* your children have ever begged you not to buy them any more Happy Meals.
* you think Neil Simon is a misunderstood genius.
* you've ever appeared in a show where the cast outnumbered the audience.
* you've ever gotten a part because you were the only guy who showed up for auditions.
* the audience recognizes you the minute you walk on stage because they saw you taking out the trash before the show.
* you've ever menaced anyone with a gun held together with electrical tape.
* you've ever had to haul a sofa off stage between scenes wearing a dinner gown and high heels.
* you've ever had to haul a sofa off stage between scenes wearing a dinner gown and high heels - and you're a guy.
* you've ever played the father of someone your father's age.
* your kids know your lines better than you do.
* your kids SAY your lines better than you do.
* you get home from rehearsal and have to go back to the theater because you forgot your kids.
* you've ever appeared in a show where an actor leaned out through a window without opening it first.
* you've ever had to play a drunk scene opposite someone who was really drunk.
* you've ever heard a director say, "Try not to bump into the furniture," and mean it.
* you've ever appeared on stage with people you're related to.
* you've ever heard the head of the set construction crew say, "Just paint it black - no one will ever see it."
* your mother has ever greeted you after a performance with the words "Don't give up your day job."
* you've ever appeared in a show featuring a flushing toilet sound effect.
* the set designer has ever told you not to walk on the left half of the stage because the floor's still wet -- five minutes before curtain.
* you've ever been told your director has no eyebrows because he handled special effects for the last show.

By Chris Polo ©2007 The Community Theater Green Room, www.communitytheater.org. Used with permission.

How you can help support MadStage! Radio theater page Submit show information to MadStage Information about performance venues Wisconsin playwrights and scripts page Theater humor page Win Free Tickets! Thanks to all those who've contributed to MadStage in the past year! About MadStage Theater and dance classes, workshops, teachers and schools Performance links Performance-related job and volunteer opportunities, plus internship listings Dance Groups featured on MadStage Theater groups featured on MadStage Performance Calendar Home

All material copyright 1997-2008 Toad Hall Productions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in these pages. Please inform us of any errors! We will fix them as soon as they are brought to our attention.