Actors Code Of Conduct
There is a code of conduct by which any actor worth his or her company membership should abide. Most of these you know—they’re just common sense. Please read a respect these simple rules:
You’ve heard about it your whole life, and being a professional means there are no excuses for lateness to a rehearsal or performance. There are real-life moments which may disrupt you from your appointed arrival time such as rush hour traffic, parking etc. so plan for those moments by arriving well before the designated time. Those extra minutes will allow more time for warming-up, building an ensemble, or getting in the right frame of mind. If lateness is truly unavoidable, you must call your stage manager and let him or her know your expected arrival time.
For many, this is the most exciting time to be in a show. Take time to explore your character (why do you cross on that line?), fine-tune stage business or justify your choreography. Even if you can’t wait to get in front of an audience, let those actors who love it, relish it.
Cell Phones/Any Device
Turn them off before you enter the theatre and turn them on when you leave.
Never give or receive notes from fellow actors. There is no room for flexibility here.
Notes are given at the end of rehearsal by the production staff as quick fixes for many elements of the show. Always say “Thank you” after the director gives you a note.
If necessary clarify any notes with the appropriate production staff member AFTER all notes have been given.
Costume fittings are tricky. Let the designer know of your concerns or relevant allergies but avoid doing his or her job. Too much-unwanted advice to a designer and you could end up in something truly hideous or out of the show.
You know it’s wrong. We heard you say it.
As you learned in the last rule, sometimes keeping your mouth shut is a good thing. We will expand on that theme—keep the noise down when you are backstage. Avoid all talking and/or whispering; RTOP theatre has great acoustics. Keep your voice and laughter down even when in the dressing room. Like the song says, “Hush, hush. Keep it down now. Voices carry.”
Tech is the only time the designers get to fine-tune their work with you there. So, pay attention. Don’t disrupt their rehearsal and stay close to the stage, because they’re always going to go back a few scenes when they resume.
Just because we play dramatic characters onstage does not mean we must portray them off. When you are in a show, the theatre becomes a tiny universe. Remember, it is temporary, and there is a real world outside those theatre doors. Don’t be a stereotypical diva or demanding actor. If love should bloom while in a show, great! Keep it outside! If you have a personal struggle, sorry, but keep it outside. You are cast for your performance abilities; perform.
30 minutes prior to any musical is dedicated to vocal warm-ups. Every cast member is expected to attend warm-ups in costume with hair and makeup finished. The stage manager may set any reasonable call time for each show. You should welcome your time at the theatre. So get there early; there are many things to do.
There are two major rules here—never play with a prop and always check your props before each show (luckily you got there before “half-hour”). Those two rules seem instantly understandable but are rarely followed. Follow them. The first night you discover the climactic letter in your pocket missing before your entrance, you’ll understand.
Missing rehearsals should be avoided at all cost. If you are contagious or too sick to even sit and watch the rehearsal, make this known by calling the stage manager and making sure with the director you can be excused. If you go to the doctor bring a doctor’s note. Remember productions staffs have heard it all, be honest, or you might be out of the show.
Ad Libs and Changes to the Script
As the performance wears on, you may feel that you understand the character better than the playwright. You don’t, so quit making up lines.
Congratulations! Have fun at the party but remember, you have a show tomorrow night.
Marking a Performance
The lone audience member today paid the same ticket price as the full house that loved your performance last night. You have a responsibility to all involved to perform the show as rehearsed and to do your best. If that doesn’t sway you, remember, every show could be audience members first or last experience with theatre.
Maintaining a Performance
You can look at a long run either as a chore or the world’s best acting class. You get to play your craft and test your choices in front of an audience (“Why did I get that laugh last night and not tonight?”). Quit complaining and stay fresh. Extended runs are a good thing.
Questions or Concerns
For all issues large talk to the stage manager. He or she will help or find the right person to do so.
Mutual respect is expected from everyone at RTOP. Respect means to value every contribution made to the success of a production. Please respect staff, crew, directors, designers, fellow actors and yourself by following the above guidelines. Remember, nothing spreads faster than your reputation. Taking care of yourself when rehearsing and performing. Keep yourself healthy and safe throughout the run. You were chosen over many other actors for this role, so respect yourself and live up to everyone’s belief in you.