Our Theater Ethics


1. Atmosphere: Only love, mutual understanding and commitment can provide for a good show. Short-living and ephemeral as it may seem (“one-day butterfly”), theater production will have a great impact on your lives, leaving a trace much deeper than many other long-lasting and material things. Theater friends become your close friends and theater memories become your dear memories. As we prepare the show, we become like a family. Jealousy, critical attitude and theater cliques, frequent in the world of professional theater, would never form in this atmosphere.

2. Enjoy: Work hard but also enjoy rehearsing and acting. Only then the audience will enjoy the show.

3. Commitment: My assistant and I commit to making the show the best possible show it can be and devote a lot of time and energy to it. We expect the same commitment from you. Sometimes it is hard for us to meet our deadlines, and it may often be so for you. It is unethical to complain or try to justify unpreparedness for class.

4. Time is precious: Please e-mail us with any non-urgent questions and suggestions, and, in turn, we will e-mail you non-urgent comments and suggestions regarding your work. There is very little practice time and we have to use it wisely for our rehearsal.

5. EVERYONE IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT: Every cast member is important. Please be courteous and help each other.


1. Punctuality: Arrive, take off your street gear, prepare scripts and pencils before class begins. Theater is group work. If there are 10 cast members and you are three minutes late we lose 30 minutes of rehearsal time.

2. Notes: Print the play out leaving wide margins and space between the lines. Keep blank pages and a pencil in your play folder. Write down your blocking and notes. Review them as you memorize your lines and before the runs. You are responsible for keeping track of everything that relates to your character and assignment.

3. Focus: Focus on the play during the rehearsal. If you are attentive you will learn more language, theater and cultural ideas than your part requires, and therefore get more from the course. Never talk offstage. It is distracting to the director and actors on stage and leads to missing cues. If you acquire a habit of talking offstage during the rehearsals, you will be unable to avoid talking backstage during the performance, which is detrimental to the show.

4. Repetition: Rehearsal is repetition. We often need to go over a scene or a line again and again. Please be patient. The director’s blocking plan may have to be changed onstage. Some ideas may not work due to stage, costumes and other limitations, others may come up as we block. Be prepared for these changes. Correct your notes accordingly.

5. Helpful suggestions: Insights from the cast are welcome, but, unless critically important, should not interfere with the blocking and especially runs. Please use e-mail and after class time for any suggestions and discussions. However, never tell a fellow actor what to do. You may talk to the director and assistant director and discuss characters with fellow students. It is unwise to criticize costumes, set or directions when the work is finished.

6. Learn: Learn lines as soon as possible, real acting begins only when the script is out of your hands. Use the audio recording and the help of native speakers if you have many Russian lines. Learn your cues and help your partners. Cast members depend on each other and therefore have to be reliable partners. If your partner forgets a line, prompt him/her or otherwise help the situation.

8. At the end of the rehearsal: Please prepare to sit and listen silently when the director gives notes at the end of the rehearsal. Do not ask questions during that time. You may talk to the director afterwards (in person or via e- mail). You will gain a lot from the other actors’ notes.


1. Loud and Downstage: If you can see the audience they can see you. Don’t speak looking back or sideways (it’s called “projecting upstage”): the audience reads your lips and listens to your lines to understand you. Speak loudly: we wear makeup, which exaggerating our features and exaggerate our voices to be seen and heard. If the audience does not hear the lines our effort is lost.

2. Do not touch other actors’ props and costumes.

3. Prop rule: If you dropped an object on stage, pick it up when appropriate; never leave your prop onstage after a scene, they will destroy the next scene.

4. If you are on stage but not speaking, look at the actor who speaks, react to his/ her words; sometimes you may be advised to freeze, turn away, pretend to hide while another actor speaks — please do not draw attention from the speaking actor onto you (by way of jumping, laughing, scratching) unless instructed otherwise.

5. Costumes: Do not eat or drink anything other than water while in costume. Return costumes to the responsible student the week after the show. Please mend, dry clean (or wash and iron if appropriate) the costumes and wash masks in warm water with soap after use. Financial responsibility for costumes: if there is no ready costume and makeup available, students make/ find their own costumes or pay the people who make their costumes/props.

6. Secrecy: Do not leave theater wearing stage makeup or greet your friends and family while in costume.

7. After show: Do not leave theater after the performance without cleaning up, assisting the lights team and informing the actors’ party host.