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The Seven Deadly (Theatre) Sins

Okay, so we've all been there: you're backstage for a show, and you're really in the zone. You've got your lines down, you turned up two hours early just to make sure that you wouldn't forget anything, and you've organised your props and makeup by colour: you're ready.


But wait...

One of your fellow cast members is grinding your gears. They're always late, they don't know their lines on opening night, and they keep stealing your eyeliner! You're a good sport, so you don't follow your instincts and duct-tape them to the lighting rig, but you do wonder, while you're trying to find your eyeliner, exactly which circle of hell they would find themselves in...


Well, wonder no more! We've done up a handy guide for Halloween so that you know - and can even tell them, if you're feeling vindictive - which theatre no-no corresponds with which sin, and, therefore, which circle of hell they'll end up in!


Good idea, huh?


So, without further ado, we'll start with one of the most common theatre sins:


1. LUST: Over-committing


I know it. You know it. Most of the people reading this article, I would wager, will put their hands up to the fact that they over-commit all the time. "Oh, what would one more production hurt?" "I've got time in my week for another role!" "I definitely won't regret this later, it's my dream role!"


Well, bet you're feeling a bit sheepish now, eh? You know it's bad, and how many times have you either a) had a complete mental breakdown or b) had to pull out of something, because you've overcommitted?


It's not a good look. Stop doing it. It's tempting, but that's the thing about lust, isn't it?


And it's closely tied to...


2. GLUTTONY: Spotlight-hogging


Look, another common one. I mean, we could all say, "Oh, but I've never pushed someone out of the spotlight literally, so this doesn't apply to me." But the little wriggle of self-worth deep down inside you is telling you that, actually, that's only the most obvious version of this sin.


Maybe you volunteered for a job even when you were overcommitted just because you can't bear not being involved. Maybe you knew that someone else wanted a role, and you didn't need it, but you really wanted it.


Moderation in everything, guys. We can do this. Of course, now we're getting to the really annoying ones:


3. GREED: Stealing other people's props and makeup.


Okay, guys. Now we're in the 'bad guy' territory. This is where you've really had to stamp down quite hard on that moral compass in the past, or had to rationalise that they didn't need it as much as you or they didn't deserve it for this reason or this reason or this reason...


Y'all are going to the third circle of hell. Sorry. I don't make the rules.


(By the way, people who 'borrow' things and then don't put them back are in this category. You can't wriggle out of this on a technicality.)


4. SLOTH: Not learning your lines.


Boy. Geez. Alright, now you're just a bad person, not to mention a bad actor. I mean, how'd you even get the part? Is this because you're in three other productions? You really need to get a calendar or something. At this point, what you need is a script. And a sense of moral decency.


Disgusting.


I hate to tell you, but if we're three days out and you can't perform a scene all the way through without a script, you're letting everyone down. Even directors have a better work ethic, come on.


5. ENVY: Tripping your castmembers when they walk past you on stage.


We've been over this. This is kindergarten stuff, you know. No, I don't want to hear your excuses. I don't care how much you deserved the part and want to prove that you deserve it because you could've dodged a rogue foot better.


And if this seems ridiculously specific, you obviously haven't done a high school production.


6. WRATH: Killing someone for a role.


Now, I shouldn't have to say this. But someone's been letting the side down. Now, I'm not going to call anybody out, but I will say that it's not on, and I hope that we can be a bit more civilised in future.


Use your words, people.


7. PRIDE: Forgetting to clap the sound and lighting guys.


Dude. Get some perspective. The world doesn't revolve around you. Those guys have worked really hard on this, and they put in ridiculous hours so that you can do your job, and they don't get half the exposure that you do. They toil away backstage and in the lighting box, and never get their moment in the spotlight.


And, sure, they're mostly too shy to say anything, and, sure, they're inside so much that a solid spotlight would probably turn them to dust instantly. But the least you can do is wave a hand vaguely in their direction at the end of a show. It's not much.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. (It's not a TED talk, don't sue me.)

- Ryan

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