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What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by bundy5000 2012-12-16 22:31:03


During the recent revival of Follies, the majority of the 1st act had the whole cast on stage almost the whole time. When they were not in the spotlight they were in the back either frozen or what it looked like talking to the others in the cast. Do they actually talk to each other and have off stage scripted stuff? Talk about what they want since the mic is off of them? or just pretend to talk? IS there some method used in Theater to address such scenes?


What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by mschwager 2012-12-16 23:02:21


Generally when on stage in a scene like that (as I have been), you speak and react completely in character

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by GlindatheGood22 2012-12-16 23:53:09


I've always been taught to stay in character. Even if the audience doesn't know what you're saying, they will see your reactions. The illusion must be completely preserved.

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by dramamama611 2012-12-17 02:15:05


Yes, they should be in character.
No, it isn't scripted.
They aren't usually talking aloud, but mouthing words. (so the sound doesn't distract)
Honestly, they can just be mouthing words like: peas and carrots or rutabaga -- which produces an interesting variety of mouth movement. It will vary from actor to actor, production to production, director to director.. But nothing should suprise you.

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2012-12-17 02:26:05


In my experience, and to clarify this is just regional, it's almost always silent in character conversation, but on occasion I have seen and been guilty of whispering to a fellow cast member what their plans were between shows or what they were doing for dinner. I guess that's the difference between amateurs and pros, but I'd bet that sort of thing has happened on Broadway too.

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-12-17 03:23:58


During the Plummer/Dennehy INHERIT THE WIND a while back, I sat in the jurors' box - right next to Terry Beaver, who played the judge - in the production, onstage.

To date, I can recall Denis O'Hare wandering up to Beaver, at the tail-end of a scene in the courtroom, and going, "So, Judge, whattaya say you swing by the mansion, huh?", as well as, some other random hubbubs. My friend and I were DYING at the improv: O'Hare turned to us, nodded, and walked offstage. Hysterical.

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by dramamama611 2012-12-17 05:39:16


I'm sure, Cats, that it happens often on every stage. MOST work-a-day actors can say any sort of message "in character" and react "in character".

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by broadwaydevil 2012-12-17 12:53:32


I've always been taught to stay in character but will echo the replies that some people talk about weekend plans, etc. I read an interview somewhere which I'm sure I'll never find now about Elaine Paige in Follies and supposedly she would tell actual jokes to others stage and crack them up. That wouldn't necessarily be out of place though considering they are supposed to be at a party and people talking and laughing in the background would seem reasonable.

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by bundy5000 2012-12-17 17:33:46


I remember I was 3rd row orchestra to the left, during the scene when the cast comes out after Ben's final number with the curtain and chaos thing going on, I saw Elaine standing on her mark talking to the person next to her like having an average conversation right before the set goes up and reveals her to the audience. I wouldn't be surprised if she did actually talk then

What are they saying? if anything.....
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-17 18:20:33


Speaking of a different Prince production: in the extended dinner party scene in Act II of the original A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, he had the actors face upstage but deliberately tap their silverware lightly on their plates to simulate the sound of people eating.

I don't know that it was the first time it had been done, but it was surprising verisimilitude for a musical at the time. There was also the general hum of dinner conversation, but, no, I don't know what the actors were saying.