Howdy all: It’s Mark, editor of the Theatre Dictionary. As we’ve been putting the finishing touches on everything—windows washed, throw pillows arranged just so — I’ve been thinking about the times I heard a theatre term I didn’t know. That has happened a lot, but I will never forget this one…
When I was a college senior in Atlanta, Georgia, I got hired to be the literary manager of a local theatre company. As a theatre studies major, I was thrilled to be making money doing the thing I loved, and I figured that with four years of coursework and a high school career of community theatre productions, I was ready to get started.
Then, in my very first week, the theatre’s artistic director asked me to check on a play she was interested in producing. I looked it up, and I told her it had been produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. Only I called it the “La JAHL-uh” Playhouse. Like “jolly,” but an “uh” at the end.
Very politely, my boss told me it was actually pronounced “La HOY-uh.” Oops! It was a clarifying moment about how much I still had to learn.
But that’s how it goes when you’re mastering a language: You pick it up one word at a time.