Friday, March 26, 2010


When searching for a nice rain jacket or hiking shoes, you might look for something that is water proof. The same goes for fabrics and building materials, only there the term you are looking for is fire-proof. Well, in theatre we have what is called actor proofing.

Actor proofing refers to the act of making the set, costumes or props safe and durable for actors to handle and use time and time again throughout the run of a show. Sounds boring, but is certainly a challenge that those in technical theatre deal with time and time again. When it works, it is a thing of beauty and believe me, no one notices. When it doesn't work, it often leaves audiences gasping and chatting about it well after they should have reinvested their time into what is happening on stage. Actor proofing is time consuming and expensive and definitely has an impact on how things are made or used.

So how about some examples so this makes a little more sense. An actor slams a door shut and the next thing you know, a statue falls off the shelf in the next room. Or perhaps when that door is slammed, the walls on the set begin to sway back and forth for what seems like and eternity. In both instances, I promise you that members of the audience will suddenly turn their attention to the walls moving and the statue, now in a hundred pieces on the floor, instead of focusing on what the actors are now doing or saying. Inevitably, the talk at intermission isn't about how good the show is, it is about whether or not that statue was supposed to break. A few folks will be a nervous wreck thinking about the walls "coming down" and whether something will give the next time the door is shut.

Actor proofing can go a long way, but with limited resources, money, time and by nature of theatre being a temporary art form, it isn't always perfect or fool proof. We aren't setting walls in concrete, so there is always a chance of them moving when a door is slammed. By the way, it is possible to make a door look like it is being slammed without actually slamming it, it is called acting. Just because something like this happens, doesn't mean that someone didn't do his/her homework. If you can think of a way for something to go wrong, there is a good chance that someone, at some point in the run of a show can make you look the fool. It doesn't matter how many times that door has been slammed, in the heat of the moment under stage lights with the audience in the palm of his hand, that actor will take it upon himself to step it up a notch. As frustrating as it can be for the designer, TD, or technician who has spent countless hours trying to make something work consistently time and time again, at the end of the's live theatre. Deep down I think people look forward to those moments when something goes wrong just to see how people will handle it. Not to mention it makes for a great story!

I hope this provides you with a little more insight into the backstage world of theatre. More glimpses to come down the road.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Introducing: Jessica the Intern

Hey, folks! I hope everyone is coming to see A Streetcar Named Desire. My name is Jessica Burroughs, and I'm an intern here at Theatre Charlotte. I'm also a Theatre minor at Queens University of Charlotte where I've worked both onstage and backstage. Mostly I've done props, costumes, and stage management, but I'm currently directing my senior project. My first time on stage was in kindergarten as the Narrator in “The Little Gingerbread Boy” (because I was the best reader in the class!). At Theatre Charlotte, I've been helping with some set construction, running lights at special events, and coordinating props for A Streetcar Named Desire. If I've played my cards right, I'll be graduating in May and on my way out into the real world. Since I love Charlotte, though, I'll be staying right here and taking whatever life tosses at me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charles LaBorde on A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire opens tonight at Theatre Charlotte!! To get everyone ready for the opening, here is the Director's Note from Charles LaBorde, the Director of this production, as well as some photos from the dress rehearsals! Hope to see you at the show!


Tennessee Williams was a gifted and tormented man who exorcised his demons through his writing. Never did he better explore the anguish that is life in a troubled soul than in this, his masterpiece. The lifelong quest for love and the striving to assuage the feelings of desire that accompany it have never been more hauntingly and painfully explored than in his portrait of the collapse of the great heroine of the American stage, Blanche Dubois. To help her on her fateful journey, he created three other characters — Stanley, Stella, and Mitch — who stand atop the pantheon of great roles in theatre. That he gave us all four characters in a single drama is an accomplishment that has awed and humbled all of us working to bring this play to you this evening. During the rehearsal period I told the cast that we should thank the genius that was Tennessee Williams for creating this work and thus, allowing us to share its beautiful perfection with you this evening. We are also grateful to Ron Law and Theatre Charlotte for having the courage to produce such a challenging and rewarding script. And we thank everyone of you for taking this difficult journey with us.

— Charles LaBorde

A Streetcar Named Desire

March 18-21; 24-28, 2010

tickets: 704-372-1000 or

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Introducing: Lisa the Intern

Hello everyone my name is Lisa Shirley, I'm a drama major at Queens University of Charlotte and I am doing an internship with Theater of Charlotte. I have been into theater for about 7 years and love every minute of it! At Theater of Charlotte I help build sets for upcoming shows, I help with publicity for events, and any other little odds and ends that are asked of me. I have been in many shows including, "A Midsummer Nights Dream", "The Music Man", and most recently Alan Ball's " Five Women Wearing the Same Dress." I have also done children s theater with my favorite being the "Meet the Nicktoons" show I hosted at Carowinds for two summers. My favorite time on stage would have to be the summer of 2008 when Bryan Adams picked me out of the crowd to sing a song with him on stage, it was awesome! As for now I am working on graduating from Queens in December and plan on moving to Wilmington to try and break into the film industry.