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Town & Gown Insider’s Dictionary

Stage icon
Amateur
complimentary name for anyone who does theater out of love for it
Batten
a board used to stiffen or unitize scenery
"Break a leg"
superstitious theater people, which is all of them, believe wishing good luck will bring bad luck, so they say this instead; see also Leg
Curtain
suspended cloth that travels back and forth to hide and reveal the scene
Deck
permanent floor of the stage; see also Paint
Door
hole in a wall for walking through; not every door has a hinged flap (called a shutter) to close it
Gaff tape
the do-all, fix-all, cover-all tool; duct tape’s clever sibling; matte black cloth-backed adhesive tape
Ghost light
lamp burning onstage when the playhouse is unoccupied; its use is a safety practice but also keeps theater ghosts from becoming lonely and resentful
Guild
the Town & Gown Theatre Guild, providing immeasurable support to Town & Gown Players for over a quarter of a century
"Heads!"
warning that heavy, clumsy scenery is about to move into the spot where you are standing
Leg
suspended cloth that masks backstage areas; it does not travel as a curtain does
Level
part of the acting area raised above the deck
Mainstage
Town & Gown’s big season; these productions, six a year, have ample budgets and rehearsal time and usually run two weekends
Paint
the 150 or so pigmented layers that hold the deck together at the Athens Community Theater
Professional
anyone who gets paid for doing theater; an irrelevant remark in relation to Town & Gown
Rail
fixed horizontal member; the "Jay Holl rails" in the Athens Community Theater serve to brace scenery
Royalties
payments to a playwright for the right to perform a show; they have lapsed in the case of the Scottish Play
"R word"
synonym for heavy cord; some consider it rude to say the word in the theater, possibly because it spelled the end of many actors in a previous age
Safety
vital concern in a place where preoccupied talent must move through a dark, obstructed area without setting anything on fire; see Stage Manager
Scottish Play
a tragedy by Shakespeare that superstition holds to be cursed; anyone naming or quoting it in a theater must perform a ritual to cancel the bad luck
Second Stage
Town & Gown’s series of challenging, special-appeal, or just slightly out-of-the-way productions, six a year, put up on a shoestring on the only stage, which also serves as workshop and rehearsal room
Shmookie
(rhymes with cookie): a strong, versatile form of batten
Skyhook
device for securing a brace to overhead bar joists in the Athens Community Theater; invented by Brian Nummer
Stage Left
across the stage to the audience’s right
Stage Manager
supreme leader of techies, role model and confidant to talent, rescuer of many a clueless director; responsible for timing, traffic and safety
Stitcher
person who builds costumes
Table, The
small piece of all-purpose furniture that has been in more shows, and more colors, than any human member of Town & Gown; recipient of a special presidential award in 1991
Talent
actors, singers and dancers
Techies
carpenters, stitchers, electricians, painters and others who make theater talent-accessible
Vance-Vinson Memorial Thruway
a door between the dressing rooms at the Athens Community Theater, cut by John Vance and Toby Vinson, permitting offstage movement from Stage Left to Stage Right
Whistling
an act forbidden in theaters; many "flymen," so the story goes, were ex-sailors who signaled to one another this way, so that whistling on the deck could result in getting scenery dropped on your head

since 1953




Celebrating 48 Continuous Years of Community Theater
Town & Gown Players, Inc. · P.O. Box 565 · Athens, Georgia 30603
Phone: (706)548-3854 · Fax: (none)

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