The TDF Theatre Dictionary Blog

Official news and announcements.

heckling.2

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term heckling.

On heckling’s official page, we define the term as “aggressively interrupting a performance with disturbing and abusive comments.” But now we want to know what the term heckling means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever seen a performer shut down a heckler in a funny or memorable way?

– Or maybe you are the one who took the heckler to task. How did you get the jerk to stop?

– Admit it: Have you ever heckled? Or, more likely, have you ever wished you had the bad manners to heckle? I know a few audible “oys” have escaped my mouth from time to time…

If you’d like to make a video of your own about heckling, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

experimental.theatre

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term experimental theatre.

On experimental theatre’s official page, we define the term as “rejecting dominant methods of producing and writing plays.” But now we want to know what the term experimental theatre means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever seen an experimental show that blew your mind in a good way… or a bad?

– When you hear the term experimental theatre, what do you think of? A particular show, or company, or artist?

– If a production is defined is experimental, does that make you more or less likely to go? Why?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about experimental theatre, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

understudy

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term understudy.

On understudy’s official page, we define the term as “an actor who temporarily takes over a role when the regular performer is sick or unable to go on.” But now we want to know what the term understudy means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Did you ever see an understudy who particularly impressed you? What show was it and do you remember his or her name?

– Did you ever go to a show specifically to see the understudy? That’s what one of our writers, Linda Buchwald, did when she caught Jay Armstrong Johnson in Hair.

– Have you seen any understudies who went on to become famous?

– Have you ever seen an understudy go on in the middle of a show? That happened to me at The Pirate Queen when poor Stephanie J. Block, who was having vocal issues, left partway through the first act and her standby, Kathy Voytko, took over with no announcement! I was momentarily confused!

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term understudy, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

inamorata-2

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term inamorata.

On inamorata’s official page, we explain that the term often refers to the female leading role in a romantic comedy, though it can also be applied to the heroines of grand operas or Shakespeare tragedies. But now we want to know what the term inomarata means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you played an inomarata? Who was it?

– Can you think of a contemporary character who seems to fit the “inomarata mold?” Who is it?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term inomarata, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

deus.ex.machina..2.cropped

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term deus ex machina.

On deus ex machina’s official page, we explain that the Latin term translates as “god from the machine,” which has evolved to mean “not just a god saving the day, but any contrived ending that introduces a new element to solve the story’s central problem.” But now we want to know what the term deus ex machina means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Which shows have you seen that employed a deus ex machina and ended a little too abruptly and conveniently?

– Can you think of any shows where a deus ex machina was used in a funny or satirical way?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term deus ex machina, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

scrim

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term scrim.

On scrim’s official page, we define the term as “a special type of fabric that can be translucent, transparent or opaque depending on how it’s lit. In theater, lighting designers use a scrim to hide something or someone until the exact moment they want audiences to see it.” But now we want to know what the term scrim means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Can you recall a particularly effective use of a scrim on stage? What show was it and how was it employed?

– If you’re a designer, have you ever worked with a scrim? What did you use it to do?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term scrim, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

sung.through

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term sung through.

On sung through’s official page, we define the term as “a musical where all (or almost all) of the text is rendered in song.” But now we want to know what the term sung through means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– What’s your all-time favorite dialog-free musical? I admit to having a soft spot for Evita–I frequently screeched along to the original Broadway cast recording when I was a lonely teen.

– Have you ever had the “Is it a sung-through musical or an opera?” debate with friends? What was the show in question?

– Are there any sung-through musicals that you think could be improved by adding dialog? What are they?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term sung through, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

chewing.scenery

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term chewing the scenery.

On chewing the scenery’s official page, we define the term as “to overact or act in a way that is distracting.” But now we want to know what the term chewing the scenery means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever seen a famous actor ham it up on stage? Who was it and what did he or she do?

– Are there any well-known stage roles that you think call for an actor to chew the scenery? What are they?

– If you’re a performer, did you ever give a performance that you think was too over-the-top? What part did you play and what do you wish you’d done differently?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term chewing the scenery, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

Off Book

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term off-book.

On off-book’s official page, we define the term as “having memorized all your lines in a script, and also knowing your cues for when to say them.” But now we want to know what the term off-book means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Do you have any tricks for memorizing lines?

– Did you ever think you were off-book only to find that the slightest distraction caused you to forget your lines?

– Have you ever seen a professional actor go up on his or her lines? What happened and how did the performer recover?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term off-book, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

break.leg

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term break a leg.

On break a leg’s official page, we define the term as “theatre slang for good luck” since actually saying “good luck” is considered unlucky. But now we want to know what the term break a leg means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Has anyone ever wished you “good luck” before a performance? Did anything bad happen during the show and if so, what?

– Break a leg isn’t the only way to wish someone a good show. Has anyone ever told you “merde” or another foreign curse?

– I once saw a performer actually break her leg onstage in a student production of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. Have you ever seen a performer get injured during a show? What exactly happened?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term break a leg, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!

Cheers,

Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor