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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”



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

2. “You need to wear different underwear”



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)



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

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


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

5. “Try to threaten me”



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

6. I’m your father now



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”


What’s my character motivation?

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


Just a little too much lipstick…

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



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

10. “I am a mother pheasant plucker…”


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”


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

12. “This summer I was a dancing fork”



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!

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



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

14. “I need you guys to kiss again”



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



“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”



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”



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

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



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

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



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!

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The Hardest Les Miserables Lyric Quiz Ever
Eric Eidson

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. “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.

  2. “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

  3. 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.

  4. “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.

  5. “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)

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. “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.

  9. 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)

    • 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*

  10. 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.

  11. *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*

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.”

  15. 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.

    • I teach at an all-girls Catholic high school. When talking about sound equipment I bring this up as to why condoms may be found in the sound room. No lube.

      Also male v female plugs, any time I am talking about the parts of a screw, Greek theater…. Shakespeare…. my classes get very unintentionally dirty…

  16. “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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!)

  19. “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.

  20. Triple E, you forgot the
    Stage Combat Instructor: SAY MY NAME
    Student: Prichard
    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.

  21. “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)

  22. 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

  23. 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”

  24. *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*

  25. 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.”

  26. 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.

  27. 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)

  28. 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.

  29. “Hit her harder! She can take it!” -My director during A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the play-within-a-play, I was the Wall and the actor playing Pyramus was supposed to hit my arm… our director decided he needed to hit me harder

  30. Me to my student stage manager, after getting my pickup truck stuck on a sidewalk trying to unload lumber for a build day: “YOU’RE supposed to keep me from doing stupid shit!”… I got the Stupid Shit paper plate award that show. (With a drawing of me and the trapped truck)

  31. got a couple:
    First off was told to me but at my college, there was a rehearsal for a Shakespeare play (I think it was The Tempest) and the lift in the center of the stage had been lowered. Well, one of the stage crew was crossing the stage and fell in, landing from about an 8-10ft drop. Next thing you hear if you’re nearby is “I’m alive!…I’m alive?…huh”(it was completely dark so the guy had no visual reference for where he was)
    This was immediately followed by the stage manager shouting “WHY IS THERE A BODY ON MY LIFT?”

    Another one I’ll share here is from high school when we were acting in The Curious Savage, we were tired, had run the scene five times in that rehearsal already, and had homework on our minds. The line was “Don’t you see these people are trying to deceive us?”
    It came out “Don’t you see these people are trying to conceive us?”
    We couldn’t stop laughing for almost five minutes straight.

  32. It was a rehearsal of MEDEA. It was her mad scene in front of the doors to her house after killing her children. I told her that she had to relate more to the pillar. She was brilliant and later won an acting award at the college drama festival.

  33. “Don’t go underneath the platform. It’s not secure. If you accidentally bump into it, it might fall and kill you. Oh, and Hannah? You’re the tallest. Go under it to see if it works.” -set construction during Into The Woods
    “Yeah, I know we’re in the basement and the tornado sirens are going off, but we’re all together. Time for notes!” -torando during dress rehearsal for Into The Woods
    “Did you EAT her props?!?!” -For Whom The Tinkerbell Tolls play (lettuce was a prop)
    “Michael!! Keep your pelvis under control!” -Drop Dead Juliet play (he was dancing onstage)

  34. Ah the Beauty and the Beast:) I just finished as Belle in that show, so I didnt get to be a dancing fork:( my sisters, however, got to be Mrs. Potts (teapot), Pepper, and Cumin. That’s way more interesting haha?

  35. “You need to almost fall into the orchestra pit!” -my director giving me directions for I Cain’t Say No when I played Ado Annie in Oklahoma. We decided to take the line “I know I mustn’t fall into the pit” quite literally???

  36. My personal favorite was when my teacher, very angrily, exclaimed (with the arts program head sitting in the auditorium) “You’re about to get raped and you don’t look nearly scared enough.” Needless to say, the arts director was very concerned about the content of the play we were doing!

  37. I played a lovesick girl this year and I had to dreamily sigh-moan loud enough for everyone in the audience to hear. Let me tell you, learning how to moan is definitely the weirdest thing ever, especially when your friends are all laughing and you have to be serious and moan FIFTY TIMES IN A ROW. Let’s just say it was a frustrating day.

  38. We have a thing called a “Show Chant” that we say before every show. It is made up of all of the REALLY funny things that have been said during shows. Some classics include “Can you Velcro my eggs to my legs please?” “Milky White is dead, but it’s going to take two of us to make this baby” and “Run straight at me while taking off your pants”

  39. Trying to get us back on track during an Into the Woods rehearsal: “Okay, so she flicked your bean…” (I was the Baker’s Wife & was trying to bargain with Cinderella for the slipper. They yelled at me for giggling after.)

  40. “Heather. Heather. Stop making out in the background. You’re supposed not to be out of the closet, remember?”
    “Stoner Chick and Hipster Dork, can you do that drug deal we talked about earlier now?”
    “Veronica, you’re not drunk enough!”
    “Rip off his clothes more violently.”
    “You’re a rapist!”
    “No, I want you to say that your mum is an alcoholic with a broader smile.”
    “There were no cellphones in the eighties!”
    ~ things I have said while directing Heathers last year

    • I MISSED AN AMAZING ONE (to the girl who played Heather Chandler) “Don’t throw that bat in Katy’s face! You cannot torture your fellow castmates! Actually, DO torture your castmates! But only when I tell you to!”

  41. High school production of She Kills Monsters… these are just a few of the many
    “The blood needs to stay in your mouth- not on the cheerleader”
    “We’re gonna be getting some really good wood so be sure to grip it tightly and lead with your palm so no one gets hurt”
    “Is there a way we can make those boots any sluttier without getting shut down?”
    “Don’t try to hug me after the show- I don’t do warm and fuzzies, I do cold and scratchies”

  42. Not a theatre teacher but back in the eight grade my biology teacher had a box labelled “body parts” on his desk and if someone talked out of turn he would take out a rubber heart or a plastic spleen or something and throw it at them.

  43. When my school was doing Into the Woods, the director forgot all about making the Baker’s Wife look pregnant. After the first show, she said, “we forgot to get her pregnant!”

  44. “Can you please just grow a little” and “you look like a prostitute” are two of my favorites, but I also like “You have to actually touch her” That last one wasn’t to me

  45. I have a medium sized ceramic pot on my desk that says “Ashes of Problem Students.” Every year a new theatre student will always ask with s fearful voice… is that for real? With complete sincerity, I always say “ No silly, I bury them in my back yard. That new dirt mound with the beautiful flowers is the newest victim.”

  46. My favorites:
    1. The Sound of Music-“Maria, please don’t jam out on the guitar during Do Re Mi. Just play normally.”
    “Don’t cover your ears, Gretl. You’re supposed to be used to the whistle.” (To captain) “Don’t whistle too loud or directly in the kids’ ears.”
    “Nuns, make sure you’re wearing black shorts or skirts under the costumes. They’re very sheer.”
    2. Annie-“Tessie, you need to be way more annoying and piteous. Make sure your ‘Oh my goodness’ is prominent.”
    3. Shrek- Donkey, you need to be funnier with the joke about the Crusades. We’re a Catholic school. Most of the people attending are gonna get that joke.
    4. I played the roulette wheel in Lucky Stiff. “Caroline, pretend you’re Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune presenting the roulette wheel to Harry and Annabelle.”

  47. My school director said that high fives are masoganistic. It was in Much ado about nothing Benedick and another person (I dont remember) really wanted to high five. But my director said “No high fives are masoganistic”. In this one specific context it made sense but out of context is fun t to look back on.

  48. “You are a terrible person but also I’m supposed to feel bad for you.”
    “You aren’t evil enough.”
    “Slap him again, but this time with PASSION.”
    “If we need to spend this entire rehearsal teaching you how to kiss properly, we will.”
    “Watching you go insane is the best part of my day.”

    Playing Lady Macbeth was….interesting.

  49. I had a Theatre teacher who saw a girl doing the heart hands thing that I’ve seen people do for friendship selfies. The girl saw him and said, ” Hey Mr. (Insert teacher name), I heart you!” And he just calmly looked at her and flipped her off

  50. “Run. In your tap shoes. Like manly men.”
    “I’m sorry I’m meeting you as a racist Confederate soldier.” (One of my directors was in our opening scene of Parade when a new cast member walked in)
    “That’s the weirdest looking bong I’ve ever seen.” (director saw us playing with a fog machine tube)
    “You’re the meat beater”

  51. When Teaching class one day I had a student come up and tell me he couldn’t participate in class he had a hot date that night and he needed to conserve his energy! Before I could stop myself I told him it was only 10 am he was young, and he got out of school by 2pm pleanty of time to take a nap and be at his peak.
    His father was deployed and I got a phone call, and e-mail thanking me for being honest with his son. Needless to say they never asked me again to take it easy on them. They knew I expected them to do their work.

  52. “Once you get killed off you become an Oomp.” This was said in regard to the golden ticket winners in Willy Wonka. Also “Is there a way to make you less gay looking?” Said because the costume that Stuart Little was wearing was making him look super gay.

  53. “You need to be more seductive… If you need more help, come see me”
    “Just in case it ever happens again, when you pistol whip somebody, you hit the top of the head not the side”
    “Sometimes it looks like mashed potatoes”

  54. “We all get bald spots. It’s okay, it’s preparing us for old age.”- She was talking about taking mic tape off.
    “How would Satan meow if he was a cat?”- We were blocking the kidnapping scene in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
    “They’re one size fits all, so if you have a big head, sorry, if you have a small head sorry, if you have a regular head congratulations.” -Talking about the men’s hats we ordered.

  55. The most memorable piece of acting advice that I received was during my freshman year of high school, “You’re not slutty enough. We need to slut you up some more. Go tell your Mom that you need sexier clothes.” ???

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