The scene partner lottery can seem like a real let down sometimes. Try thinking of it as a challenge, after all, the greatest actors can work with anyone and still astound audiences with their brilliance. But, just in case you still feel like whining about it, here are some worst scene partner types you can commiserate with as well as some tips on how to deal.
1. The Note Giver
The actor who gives another actor a note. *BIG SIGH* As much as you want to scream “no, no, no” to them and explain acting etiquette 101, just nod your head and try to ignore them. Let them think you’re daft for not taking their brilliant insight and try to forget it.
2. The Un-memorized
It’s show time and they still aren’t off-book. Nothing like a not knowing what’s going to come out of their mouth next to keep you in the moment! This is a scenario where knowing all the lines and the layout of the scene is key so you can recover any blunders or dropped lines.
3. On Drugs or Possibly Crazy
Everyone has worked with that one actor who’s just a little off. It can be unsettling. It can be brilliant. It can cause you ulcers. Do your best to roll with the punches and chalk it up to experience.
4. The Combatant
The scene partner who takes the on-stage physical aggression too far. This is never okay. If you ever feel unsafe on-stage speak to your director ASAP.
5. The Arguer
This actor has a chip on their shoulder and feels the need to argue with everyone including the director. Best to stay out of it and create distance from the arguer. Never provoke the arguer no matter how entertaining.
We’ve all known one. We’ve all been one. Just tell them how pretty they are and hope for the best.
7. The Unwelcomed Improviser
The actor who improvises during a scripted scene when improving is not welcomed. It can be disorienting, it can throw off the timing, it can occasionally, be brilliant. That said, it’s best not to improvise if it’s not what the piece or the director calls for unless it’s out of necessity as in a dropped line. If you’re stuck with the unwelcomed improviser stay on your toes, stay in the moment, and enjoy the ride.
8. The Stinky One
Bad breath, body odor, dirty clothes… you name it. Not much you can do other than offering a breath mint or spritz some Febreze around the stage.
9. Stage Hog
The stage hog is the one who literally pushes you out of your light. Politely speak up and mention that you need to be in your light in order to be seen. The director and the tech department will have your back on this one.
10. The Intellectual
Wastes all your rehearsal time sharing their brilliant insights into the script and their character’s inner thought process instead of running lines. Tell them you never knew how smart they were, then quickly change the topic to the ticking clock and your need to run the scene a few more times.
The darn right mean-spirited kind. This scene partner breeds toxicity while putting you and your other cast mates down. Best to be the bigger person and try to find some common ground. The meanie needs love. If that fails, give yourself some self-love and call it a day.
12. Cootie Concerned
You have to do a kissing scene and your partner acts like you have cooties. Don’t take it personally, it can be a nerve-racking time and sometimes that makes people act weird. Break the ice with a joke and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
13. Space Cadet
The space cadet is off in la la land and drops all their cues. This can be great practice for you on thinking on your feet. Challenge yourself to connect with them more on-stage in order to keep them focused and on planet earth.
14. The Flake
This one cancels your rehearsal and reschedules it over and over again. Scream into your pillow then politely explain that your time is valuable too and please stick to a time and date.