The TDF Theatre Dictionary Blog

Official news and announcements.

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

callback

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

On callback’s official page, we define the term as “a followup audition where an actor gets another chance to impress and, hopefully, land a role.” But now we want to know what the term callback means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever nailed a first audition only to flop at the callback? What exactly happened?

– What’s the highest number of callbacks you’ve gone on to land just one role? Three? Ten? Somewhere in between?

– Did you ever win a major part without having a callback, à la Nina Arianda in Venus in Fur? What was it?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term callback, 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

doubling

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

On doubling’s official page, we define the term as “when an actor plays more than one part in a show.” But now we want to know what the term doubling means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– What’s the greatest act of doubling you’ve ever seen? (I myself still have fond memories of the disco-dancing doublers in The Donkey Show).

– If you’re a performer, have you ever played more than one part in a show? What were they?

– Wardrobe assistants are the unsung heroes of doubling, helping actors transform from one character to another in a flash. What’s the quickest change you’ve ever seen onstage?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term doubling, 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

TYA.TDF

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term TYA (theatre for young audiences).

On TYA’s official page, we define the term as “theater performed in the presence of young people,” though one of the adorable kids interviewed in the video has a more evocative way of putting it: “lots of funny, serious, mad and sad stuff.” But now we want to know what the term TYA means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever been to a TYA production? Was there a child in your party or did you just want to see the show yourself?

– When you hear a show described as TYA, do you automatically assume it’s not aimed at you as an adult? Will you rethink that moving forward?

– If you have seen TYA shows, name some of your favorites!

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term TYA, 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

tdf.structure

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term non-Aristotelian structure.

On non-Aristotelian structure’s official page, our friends at A Host of People define the term as… well, they didn’t do a traditional definition at all. That’s because this kind of theatre is hard to pigeonhole. It can be experimental, epic and generally rebels against traditional structure. In other words, anything goes. But now we want to know what the term non-Aristotelian structure means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Before today, had you ever heard the term non-Aristotelian structure? Where did you learn it?

– What’s the last show you saw that employed a nontraditional structure? Did you love it? Hate it?

– How do you think non-Aristotelian structure is changing today’s theatre scene? Is it for the better or worse?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term non-Aristotelian structure, 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

house.tdf

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

On house’s official page, we have defined the term as “the part of the theatre where the audience watches the show.”

But now we want to know what the term house means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Do you like it when cast members enter from or perform in the house? Or does it make you uncomfortable?

– What’s your favorite part of the house to sit in? Orchestra? Front mezzanine?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term house, 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

TDF.commedia

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term Commedia dell’arte.

On Commedia dell’arte’s official page, we have defined the term as “light entertainment based on the craft of improvisation.”

But now we want to know what the term Commedia dell’arte means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– What was the first Commedia dell’arte show you ever saw? Are there any gags you still remember?

– Have you ever been in a Commedia dell’arte-style production? If so, which stock comedic character did you play?

– We shared many examples of Commedia dell’arte’s influence on contemporary comedy. Can you name a current sitcom or movie that you think has a distinctly Commedia style?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term Commedia dell’arte, 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

dry.tech.image

Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term dry tech.

On dry tech’s official page, we explained that it means to “rehearse the technical elements of the play with the designers, the director and the stage management team before adding the actors.”

But now we want to know what the term dry tech means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

– Have you ever been through a dry tech?

– If so, did the dry tech help you identify issues you had missed up until that point? What were they?

– Have you ever been involved with a show that skipped the dry tech entirely due to budget and time constraints? What impact did that have, if any?

If you’d like to make a video of your own about the term dry tech, 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