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21 Things Theatre Teachers Can Tell Their Students That Regular Teachers Can’t

Warning: These are actual conversations that actual theatre educators are having with their students. Every theatre teacher wonders, “What do my students go home and tell their parents?” Hey Mom and Dad! Guess what my theatre teacher said today…

1. “Don’t stop choking him until he dies”

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Teaching stage combat produces some interesting sentences that could be misinterpreted if taken out of context.

2. “You need to wear different underwear”

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Costumes can be a nightmare. Between see through costumes, tight costumes, and revealing costumes… this line is said more than it should be.

3. “You’re not drunk enough” (Let me show you how to be drunk)

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Teaching students how to act drunk… awkward for everyone involved.

4. “I don’t like that dress… try on this one”… to a boy

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Did I mention costumes were a nightmare? I thought so.

5. “Try to threaten me”

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You’re supposed to be scary in this scene! Try to threaten me!

6. I’m your father now

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Okay, in this improv scene I’m going to play the role of your father.

7. “Nobody loves you and you’re all alone in the world”

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What’s my character motivation?

8. “Who did your makeup? It’s all wrong.”

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Just a little too much lipstick…

9. “Today we’re going to learn how to breathe”

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Fundamentals of stage speech… you’ve been breathing wrong your whole life… Seriously…

10. “I am a mother pheasant plucker…”

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Tongue Twister (the freshmen love this one) I am a mother pheasant plucker. I pluck mother pheasants. I am the best mother pheasant plucker to ever pluck a mother pheasant. Say that five times fast… and then go to the dean’s office.

11. “I’ve always wanted to be a serial killer”

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I mean I’ve always wanted to play a serial killer.

12. “This summer I was a dancing fork”

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Let’s be honest… if you’ve been in Beauty and the Beast, your resume probably has something like “Dancing Fork #8.” But I was the most graceful of all the dancing utensils!

13. “You sound Indian… not Irish” (Your accent doesn’t sound real)

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When learning dialects, everyone’s culture is offended equally!

14. “I need you guys to kiss again”

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This time let’s try it with a little less tongue…

15. When a student asks, “Is it because I’m black?” you can say yes

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“Why do I have to sit in the balcony in this scene? Is it because I’m black?” Yes, we’re doing To Kill a Mockingbird… that’s kind of the point.

16. “You’re a pig”

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It’s not every day you get to call a student a pig… unless of course they’re a pig.

17. “I’ve never hated you more”

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And I mean that in a good way! You played that villain so convincingly!

18. “Build me a castle… you have three weeks”

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I decided this scene should have a castle… you can make that happen right?

19. “I want your death to be a violent death…”

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The audience should cheer when you die.

20. “I could hear everything you said in the bathroom…”

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Because your microphone is still on

21. I love you!

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When it’s all said in done… no other teacher knows you like your theatre teacher. The theatre department is like your second family.

So you might have some bizarre quotes from your theatre teacher, but you wouldn’t want it any other way!

Have your theatre teachers said some bizarre things? Are you a theatre teacher that’s said some bizarre things? List them in the comments section below!

Written by Eric Eidson

Eric is a playwright, director, actor, and theatre educator from Aurora, CO. He received his BA in Acting and Theatre Education, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University. (Hi Mom!)

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  1. “That opening in the tree looks too much like a vagina… It’s a treegina!” (Working on ALICE IN WONDERLAND)

  2. “Go home to your cats and your waterbeds” when he wanted us to get out after rehearsals lol. He also called one of my classmates Goldfish and another Yogurt, Goldfish because it was like he was in a fish bowl I believe, and Yogurt because she was young and bland and would get better as age and experience added granola.

  3. “I’m gonna go get Goody Proctor pregnant” he said as he was going to get an acctress a bit of cloth to shove in her dress to give her a baby bumb

  4. “Why would you pee in your own bathtub? Do you want to sit in your pee?” -Advice my theatre teacher gave about dating fellow cast members.

  5. It wasn’t so much what he said… it’s that all exasperations were accompanied by the throwing of his arms in the air and his very bowlegged saunter across the front of the theater. It really reminded me of an orangutan having a seizure.

  6. “You need to die faster!” (This was uttered so we would make the 40 minute time restriction when we took a play to state drama fest). “If you don’t die faster, we might be disqualified! Hurry up and DIE ALREADY!”

    • Had the SAME problem when my school’s theatre group took “Cyrano De Bergerac” to Trumbauer. The lead took like three minutes to die, I mean he had lines, but the director still had to rush him a bit.

  7. “If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right.”
    “Good news is you’ll never be that terrible again…let’s hope” (after a first run through)

  8. I was working with my students on finding a focal point and staying still on stage. I decided to do the exercise with my students. We were talking about where our focal points were. One of my female students decided that her pose would be on the floor with her feet about shoulder-width apart. Another student asked where MY focal point was. I was looking at the floor between her feet. My reply was “I was looking between her legs.” While everyone got a good laugh out of it, it’s not unusual to hear weird stuff coming from our room!

  9. While blocking the fast-forward curtain call for Lend Me a Tenor, “Girls, you don’t need to go down on the guys.” I was referring to them sitting on the laps of the guys, but I’ve never lived that down.

  10. “I don’t care if Jesus Christ and the Boogeyman are having sex in the wings! You do not miss an entrance!”

    Some freshman told a senior that they saw someone in the wings. The senior went to check, and on the night the show was being filmed by the local new station, missed his entrance. It was easily covered, but still. And this is the best thing a director has ever said in all of human history.

  11. I banged George so he’d stop kissing Lauren. or People won’t stop banging each other in class!! (We have a game where if you point a finger gun and say bang, the person dies)

  12. Ok, so you gotta be cheeeeesy! I’m talking SERIOUS cheese…not velveeta, not American, or Swiss. Ya gotta be GOUDA!

  13. “Everyone needs to be on the crack! If you aren’t on the crack, get on the crack.” Blocking by floor cracks.

  14. Overheard my director colleague say to the cast of Hamlet “When improvising Shakespeare, it’s best not to say: ‘and stuff like that!'”

  15. “Well, you don’t suck as much as you did last night,” which was such a huge compliment we all cheered.

    • That is the Musical Director at my old high school to the fault.
      *Show ends. Director and Musical Director comes up*
      D: Jim, what did you think?
      MD: Well, that didn’t *completely* suck
      *Cheers from the cast and crew*

  16. My daughters report the phrase “You can’t face the audience when you stuff that dog down your pants,” from Anything Goes rehearsals.

  17. I was in a production of “The Rez Sisters” in college, and a theater professor told me once to go easy on the eyebrow pencil…they were my actual eyebrows. Gotta love it.

  18. *Yells* “Yell at me!”
    *student doesn’t yell loud enough*
    *louder* “YELL AT ME!!”
    *Still not loud enough*
    “YELL AT ME!! DO IT!!”
    *finally loud enough for characters moment*
    “Perfect!!” *happy and normal toned again*

  19. During a rehearsal in our cafetorium we had sports rentals traipsing through constantly. During contest rehearsals it was basketball season…at one point I had the entire middle school cast and crew receiving notes when I turned and yelled at the athletes…”Balls in your hands , boys!” I got a signed basketball for that award at banquet!! It was still being shared through generations of theatre students for years.

  20. Any day building set is bound to be a little dirty, but the worse is a game called “Pass the Clap”. The day I accidentally said, ” it is possible to get the clap from both directions” I started calling it “Pass the Energy” instead.

  21. Doing a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, for the temple scene: “Do you have money for drugs? I see that you have drugs, but no money for drugs. No one is just going to give you drugs! You have to have the money!!!!! Cody! Get JJ to give you money for your drugs.”

  22. Our fine old Russian director, after filling the room with profanity, would look around and ask “Was that English? ” He also spit on the floor a lot.

  23. “Go to Walgreens and buy more condoms…here is the tax exempt form.” (Condoms are used to protect the body mics from sweat)

  24. “That was horrible acting, it would have been better if we had real alcohol in the bottle…”
    My former student remembers this one from me. Probably one of my “tamer” moments.

  25. After completing instruction and demonstrations in special effects makeup, I said to my class, “I don’t have time to impale or burn anyone today, so we’ll do that next class.” I paused for a moment, realizing what I had just said, and laughed as I dismissed the class.

  26. One day in my class the lighting designer looked tired so our director said, “Kyle you need a shot of meth!” Which we still talk about.

  27. Once asked a room full of teenagers at a Dick Wittington read through, “Okay, who’d like to take Dick?”
    Never. Lived. It. Down.
    (One of the younger cast members naively raised his hand and said. “I wouldn’t mind taking Dick for a bit…” and the older lads nearly fell off their chairs laughing while I valiantly tried to carry on without having to explain to the kid why they were laughing so hard! Little shits!)

  28. “Kyle’s junk is just too big!” Shakespeare play and there was a costume problem with his codpiece. Way out of proportion After notes he asked if that was a written note. I said yes. He asked if he could have it to take home to frame.

  29. #20: one time during a show when someone went offstage a girl said,”They’re filming this show? Why didn’t they film yesterday’s? This one sucks.” ?

  30. Triple E, you forgot the
    “I SAID SAY MY NAME!”:
    Stage Combat Instructor: SAY MY NAME
    Student: Prichard
    SCI: I SAID SAY MY NAME!
    Student: *enter demonic voice* PRICHARD
    You know. The stage combat choreo that is taught to your students, in which you build and perform one with one of them. And you have them repeat your characters name.

  31. “No Erica, you’re telling GOD that you need eggs!” – My director/choreographer while she looked meaningfully out into the distance.

    (The show was Beauty and the Beast, that was during the opening number)

  32. To name a few,
    -“I will always put boa you” teaching backup singers how to use feather boas while dancing
    -“come to the catwalks we are learning to pole dance!” We had to pole dance in Addams Family during the Tango de Amor
    -“Why do you have red breasts?!” I was wearing my cheerleading costume under a blue button down shirt during High School Musical

  33. A few of my favourites
    -“Die a little father stage right”
    -“Don’t loose your blood”
    -“Your wearing granny panties”
    -“She’s blind it doesn’t matter how you try to kill her”

  34. *working on Aladdin Jr*
    Director: Stop rubbing it like that, it’s weird (referring to the magic lamp)
    Jafar: Well how would you like me to rub it?
    *Tech director leaves the amphitheater from laughing too hard so we can finish the show run*
    (same show)
    Jasmine: *fixing Sultan’s hat, whispering* Pop’s have you been drinking again?
    Director *bursts out laughing*

  35. I remember when my class got kicked out of our room, and we found props from The Crucible, and I will never forget this direct quote from my teacher, ” Guys stop playing with the noose, we have stuff to do, maybe later is noose time, but not now.”

  36. We stored large props and furnishings in the “Drug and Rape Room,” otherwise known as the Rug and Drape Room. This was especially hilarious in a prim women’s college.
    “Heads will roll” was a common threat from the department head.
    “Twelve trucks could’ve rolled through” was a comment noted when timing was off by the director.

  37. I was in my school’s version “Rock of Ages” and there was a few interesting quotes from my teacher.
    “We need more Jett women!” (Jett was the guy playing Stacee Jaxx)
    “Channel your inner Donald Trump, then add a German accent.” (In reference to me playing Hilda)
    “Strippers on one side, waitresses on the other.”
    “Franz, stop stripping. Get your clothes on and take it from the top” (During “Hit me with your best shoot”, our Franz stripped down to a unitard with leg warmers)
    “You aren’t being creepy enough, let me show you what I want” (To Stacee)

  38. cmon put a little more feeling into that kiss-and the whole scene for that matter! Act like you actually WANT to have sex with her. -My director to the bakers wife and Cinderella during hell rehearsal while we were running he any moment scene. The best part is they were dating irl.

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