The Magic Of The Theater Explained At Yale

We here at Blue Crab Boulevard managed to get a copy of a memo sent to the drama department by Yale Dean of Student Affairs, Betty Trachtenberg detailing the new administration-mandated disclaimer that must be read before the performance of any play.

To: Yale Drama Department

From: The office of Betty Trachtenberg, Dean of Student Affairs

Subject: Official Disclaimer

The administration of Yale, having seen fit to overturn my decision to ban all prop weapons from student theatrical productions (other than those purple plastic pirate swords I found at Wal-Mart) has asked me instead to provide a disclaimer to be read before the start of each performance of any play. It is direction of the administration that this disclaimer must be read to the audience. It is not mandatory at this time that you then test the audience to see if they understand the disclaimer, but we are working on that requirement.

Disclaimer of Theatrical Plays

It is vitally important to the administration of Yale that all persons attending theatrical productions put on by the drama department understand the following. Please pay attention, this is really important.

The use of prop weapons may be required in this production. A prop weapon is one that looks like a real weapon but is not. For example, a sword used in the production may look quite real, but will have a blunted edge. That is not to say that the prop sword is not still dangerous. It must be treated with great care and responsibility by the actor wielding it. If you see a production which involves the use of a prop sword, it is extremely important that you not abuse the right to watch the play by emulating the actions you see on the stage when you return to your dormitory.

In the case of prop guns, the weapon, if fired, is only shooting a blank. A blank cartridge is one which has a powder charge, but no bullet. In rare cases, a wad, used to hold the powder charge in place may be ejected from the barrel when the weapon is fired. This can cause injury and we discourage this practice. Under no circumstance should an audience member leave the theater thinking that the shooting of blanks is acceptable to the Dean of Student Affairs.

It is extremely important that you realize that if a cast member "dies" during a play that the cast member is not actually dead. The cast member is "acting". Similarly, they are not actually hurt or sick or dying or diseased or happy or sad or anything else during the performance of the play. They are actors and they are acting. Please remember that at all times.

A note about scenery: Despite the enormous efforts of the crew of the theatrical production you are about to see, every place depicted on the stage is actually a "set." Well done sets may make the audience think they are seeing a dungeon or a palace, but the audience must not fall for it. You are actually still in a theater.

Props: If a character in a play supposedly takes a drink from a cup, the cup does not actually contain any liquid. This is particularly true if the cup is supposed to contain alcohol. We here at Yale forbid the consumption of alcohol by actors on stage. So, again, don't be fooled by this.

A final note on the characters in the play. The actors in the theatrical production you are about to see are portraying characters in a play. They are not actually the people they are pretending to be. Please do not be confused by this. This is why you can see an actor in one play act the part of a good person and see another play in which the same actor portrays a bad person. This is possible because the actor isn't actually the character. And they are not really saying all those words spontaneously, either. They are actually reciting a memorized script written by somebody else. Isn't it fun how that works?

Now, relax and enjoy your magical theatrical experience.

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3 Responses to The Magic Of The Theater Explained At Yale

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  3. docweasel says:

    Wait a minute… are you saying, in effect, that perhaps Rhett Butler DID give a damn? :/

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