...yet I'll hammer it out
a surfeit of Pumfreys (spelt Pontefracts)
I think 'a will plow up all if there is not better directions 
13 November 2004, 05:43 pm
richard ii looks down his nose
Something that may amuse the Shakespeareans on my list! I posted this ages ago, but have added to it since then (having seen a few not-very-good productions), and I have many more Shakespearean friends now. And it's been a while since I've posted something silly.

Contributions from non-me people are credited in parentheses.

ETA: Since this post has hit the character limit, new contributions will be recorded here.


THE THINGS I WILL NOT DO WHEN I DIRECT A SHAKESPEARE PRODUCTION, ON STAGE OR FILM

1. The ghost of Hamlet's father will not be played by the entire ensemble underneath a giant piece of diaphanous black material.
2. I will not cast anyone who can accurately be called a "teen idol" simply to draw in the trendy set.
3. I will not put the cast in Victorian costumes for want of a better idea.
4. I will not imply that Hamlet is sleeping with his mother, or wants to.
5. I will not make actors in battle scenes wear knitted chainmail of a color that makes them resemble not so much a medieval warrior as Winnie-the-Pooh.
6. When employing non-traditional casting choices (along gender or racial lines) I will not employ embarrassing stereotypes alongside them.
7. I will not allow any actor to bring a knife to a gunfight. (montjoy)
8. Likewise, I will not allow any actor to bring a gun to a knife fight.
9. I will not assume I know the play better than Shakespeare did, despite apparent evidence to the contrary.
10. I will not treat A Midsummer Night's Dream as though it were Un Chien Andalou.
11. I will not cast Graham Abbey as Henry V.
12. I will not cast actresses as Helena and Hermia who are the same height.
13. Richard II's minions will not be made to wear pink.
14. If I must cut the Henry VI plays down to two, I will not leave the superbly dramatic death scenes of important supporting characters offstage.
15. I will not make the moral schema of the play clear beyond a reasonable doubt for the logically-impaired in the audience unless the script calls for it. (montjoy)
16. Battle scenes will not be presided over by a ridiculous contraption resembling a death-bot.
17. Richmond will not be just as bad as Richard III.
18. I will not forget that although he's a wonderful character, there are other people in the Henry IV plays besides Falstaff.
19. I will not end Hamlet after "Good night, sweet prince."
20. I will not costume anyone such that the first thought raised in the minds of the audience is "merry elf," unless he is playing one of the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
21. I will not require anyone to paint a St. George's Cross on his face.
22. Ariel should, ideally, wear more than Gollum. (montjoy)
23. I will not work in any pop music. (montjoy)
24. I will not show the earth opening up unless I have a very good reason for it.
25. I will not use long red ribbons to represent blood, particularly if the long red ribbons bear an unnerving resemblance to pasta.
26. I will not cut important scenes simply because I do not like them.
27. If I am running an annual Shakespeare festival, I will acknowledge that there are plays beyond A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night.
28. I will not go overboard literalizing the imagery in the play.
29. I will not overlook either the pro-war or the anti-war side of Henry V.
30. As much as I enjoy his films, I will not steal from Kenneth Branagh. It's not like people won't notice.
31. I will not overwhelm wonderful speeches with overbearing flashbacks.
32. I will not employ a conception of Caliban which would require him to wear a ghastly furry costume reminiscent of a hypothetical offspring of Chewbacca and the Wolf from Into the Woods.
33. Also, I will not require Caliban to hump Stephano's leg while telling him about Miranda, no matter how big a laugh it will get.
34. I will not require any actor to brush his teeth onstage. Especially if the production is supposed to be set in period.
35. Princess Katherine will not ask for an English lesson while bathing, thematically apt as it may be.
36. Keanu Reeves will not be allowed near the production.
37. I will not pantomime every image employed in the text in concert with its recitation under the assumption that it's the only way the dumb audience could possibly understand Elizabethan text. (sagamore)
38. I will not flood the stage with water. (fantome14)
39. The Twelfth Night Fool will not be split into four parts: Gotcha, Misha, Feste, and something else (can't remember- I was Gotcha). (riverdancer)
40. Titania should not be portrayed as a dominatrix. (riverdancer)
41. Olivia being played by a man who really looks more like a woman is not that good of an idea. (riverdancer)
42. I will not change words in the text simply because I fear "glass" instead of "mirror" or something similar is too difficult for the audience to understand, as I am not Shakespeare and should leave it the hell alone. (ladybretagne)
43. I will not have Hermia acting like she's never worn a dress before in her life and doesn't know how to stand in it. (neadods)
44. I will not make the staging for Winter's Tale make the audience wonder if they've wandered into a budget production of Starlight Express. (neadods)
45. If I'm doing Twelfth Night, Sebastian will not be played by a 6'6 man with a heavy black beard and Viola will not be played by a 5'4 woman with a big chest and strawberry blonde hair and we'll just pretend nobody can tell the difference. (neadods)
46. If I'm doing As You Like It, when the Duke says "Find Orsinio" I will not have the player playing Orsinio standing 2 feet away staring at them. (neadods)
47. I will not forget that stage and film are two different media.
48. I will not have actors prancing about in the background acting the seven scenes of man's life in "As You Like It", no matter how stupid my audience is. (actingfool4u)
49. If an actor is known for doing TV, he should not be cast in a tragedy unless you have definitive proof he can handle the role. (stratfordbabe)
50. The "to be" speech should not end with the line "from henceforth shall all my thoughts be bloody." (stratfordbabe)
51. Political statements should only be made if they fit within the context of the play -- not at the expense of the context of a play. (stratfordbabe)
52. Video cameras will not be used on stage -- especially if the images captured there will be projected on a screen behind the actor. (stratfordbabe)
53. Actors should be told that these are characters interacting with each other, not people reciting lines. They should be hurt if they forget that. (stratfordbabe)
54. And, while Falstaff is a good character, he is also a dark one. Let's not forget that. (stratfordbabe)
55. I will not allow the King's ghost in Hamlet to look like a hairy popsicle. (sinister_beauty)
56. I will make sure that Orsino and Cesario/Viola will always [almost] kiss at some point (preferably at the "If ever thou shalt love, in the sweet pangs of it remember me..." scene) while Viola is still dressed as a man - homoerotic subtext is a must in that play. (sinister_beauty)
57. Gerard Depardieu will be locked up with Keanu, far far away from Shakespeare. (sinister_beauty)
58. Juliet and Romeo will never be portrayed as mature, sexual adults. (sinister_beauty)
59. The fight between Helena and Hermia when Lysander and Demetrius fall for Helena will not be portrayed as a High School Drama Festival competition, full of leaps and catches and DTASC junk. (sinister_beauty)
60. Romeo will not attack Tybalt for killing Mercutio like a depressed whiny brat. We need anger, vengeance, blood lust! (sinister_beauty)
61. Macbeth will not wear a kilt that goes down past his shins. That, my friends, is a skirt. (sinister_beauty)
62. Puck will not wear little gold Arabian Nights shoes that curl up at the toes. (sinister_beauty)
63. Sir Andrew Aguecheek shall never be a young, lean, attractive man who no one in the audience can understand why Olivia turned away. (sinister_beauty)
64. Sir Toby Belch shall never be the same age as Olivia. (sinister_beauty)
65. I will not re-stage Twelfth Night to take place in Wonderland. (sinister_beauty)
66. If I cannot or will not get an actor to impersonate a corpse, I will not use a mannequin and then make a dramatic point of revealing said corpse.
67. I will not put people in elaborate period costumes that only go down to their shoulders.
68. I will not aim for realism in my fight choreography when both armies together only number about ten people. Especially if I have a big stage.
69. Richard III will not be portrayed as a whiny little prat who couldn't seduce or murder his way out of a wet paper bag.
70. I will not use metatheater as a way to disguise the ineptitude of my cast or of myself. If by some chance I find myself forced to take this course anyway, I will make it clear that the production is meta and not just half-assed.
71. People playing human (non-elf/fairy/spirit) characters will not be made to wear costumes that sparkle unless there is a good reason for it.
72. I will not cast a perky twentysomething as Doll Tearsheet, even if it is a convenient double with Lady Percy (who can be cast as a perky twentysomething).
73. Lady Macbeth will never be allowed to whine.
74. If the production calls for the display of severed heads, I will not use prop heads that look nothing like the actors. If I cannot afford convincing heads, I will not display the unconvincing ones too prominently (blood-soaked sacks can be surprisingly effective).
75. Conversely, I will not shrink from using severed heads if the script calls for it. Likewise, if blood is important thematically, I will do my best to show some onstage.
76. Jaques probably should not sing, except for the "ducdame" routine, nor should he be involved in any song-and-dance numbers I may wish the courtiers in Arden to perform. It makes his decision to lead a life of solitary contemplation seem rather abrupt.
77. I will not make my cast simulate slow motion.
78. When characters are required to speak with accents, I will make sure the actors in question can actually do them.
79. If I am filming 1 Henry IV I will not pull back for a long shot right when Hal says "I do, I will."
80. I will not un-soliloquize soliloquies.
81. I will not fail to employ a dictionary if there are words in the text whose pronunciation is uncertain, and I will strongly encourage my actors to do the same. I will not allow an actor playing Richard II to go through the rehearsal process without being disabused of the notion that "Antipodes" rhymes with "nematodes" if he is in need of such disabusement.
82. Olivia probably should not say "Most wonderful!" as if she's thinking "THREESOME!"
83. No character will be allowed to skip around the stage without a particularly good reason. Particularly if it's a guy.
84. I will not demonstrate that any character is boorish and obnoxious by having him spray copious amounts of saliva everywhere with each line. The rest of the cast will thank me for it.
85. I will not portray characters in a manner wildly inconsistent with the rest of the production (e.g. out-of-period dress in a period production) unless it is justified by the text (so characters like Chorus in Henry V or Gower in Pericles are exempt from this rule). It mostly just confuses the audience.
86. I will not open the play with scenes from the fifth act and treat the action as a flashback.
87. I will not have Henry throwing tomatoes at a spinning fan blade whilst yelling at Montjoy. (jon3831)
88. I will not portray Mercutio as a speed addict and Tybalt as his dealer. I will try to do the world a favour and cease from modernising Romeo and Juliet. (passionate_lies)
89. I will not let Glenn Close within ten feet of any Shakespearian text. (passionate_lies)
90. In a production of Cymbeline, Jupiter should not be played as some kind of bizarre winged thing on a high metal contraption with a magnifying glass for a face. Additionally, portraying the Leonati as four faceless figures swathed in one long, connected white cloth and bunches of gold Christmas lights with their lines delivered from offstage through the sound system that echoes and is impossible to understand is a bad idea. (poisoninjest)
91. I will recognize that there is never a need for a monolith ala 2001: A Space Odyssey in Macbeth. (majrgenrl8)
92. I will not project a PowerPoint slideshow onto a large screen above and behind the actors, ever, for any reason, no matter what. (mintwitch)
93. I will refrain from "correcting" the text politically or "improving" it to avoid possible offense. (mintwitch)
94. Thematically apt though it may be, I shall not have anyone in Twelfth Night resemble a character from Rocky Horror. (adamselzer)
95. I will not allow my actors to suffer under the misapprehension that "more spittle" = "better acting." (kerrypolka)
96. I will reserve the "drunken fool" interpretation for those characters for which it is textually sound to do so. Falstaff in Merry Wives is one of those characters. Don Pedro in Much Ado is not. (kerrypolka)
97. Additionally, I will keep Don Pedro's marriage proposal to Beatrice ambiguous. (kerrypolka)
98. I will not have sheep in my pastoral scenes. (kerrypolka)
99. I will not put La Pucelle in a Xena-esque metal bikini, no matter how attractive the actor's legs and stomach are. (kerrypolka)
100. I will remember that Cordelia, despite her youth, is not a whiner. (kerrypolka)
101. No matter how clever or "modern" the production, no characters in Shakespeare will ever be portrayed at a rave. (bromius)
102. I will not cut the mythological "filler" from characters' dialogue to shorten a play's running time. (bromius)
103. Either Hamlet is mad, or not. Either Ophelia is a virgin at the time of her death, or not. All are defensible positions, but I shall make a decision early in rehearsals and stick to it. (commodorified)
104. Henry V is Henry V and Blackadder is Blackadder. Cast members who are playing members of the French nobility shall refrain from speaking deliberately execrable French; neither shall they speak English with a comic accent. Violators will be tossed to bilingual members of the audience for chastisement. (commodorified)
105. No matter how much I may personally be enthralled by Dadaism, I will not insert random Dadaist elements into a production of "Taming of the Shrew". I will especially not have actors carrying gigantic black bowlers through the scenes for absolutely no reason. (gryphons_lair)
106. I will not insert Oberon and the entire Faery Court into "Taming of the Shrew" so that I can turn the story into a drunken tailor's surreal dream sequence stage-managed by Oberon, with the Faery Court playing all the roles except Petruchio. (gryphons_lair)
107. I will not use a chipmunk puppet, a frog puppet, and a neon green alligator puppet (or indeed, any puppets at all) instead of actors. (sadlikeknives)
108. I will never cast Samuel West as Petruchio, for while there are few things more important than Excellent Shakespeare, Not Breaking Feminism is one of them. (commodorified)
109. I will not portray Oberon and Puck as two handsome and well-built young men dressed in little more than blue and green paint. This is for the simple reason that it is distracting. (avariel_wings)
110. Even if I have seen Franco Zeferelli's Romeo and Juliet, I will not make it blindingly obvious that Mercutio wants to jump Romeo's bones. (polaris_starz) [Instead, I will hint at it. ;) ]
111. I will not have two actors of different races play siblings. (polaris_starz)
112. I will not cater to the lowest common denominator in making already comedic scenes funny by making the characters stupid. Benedick should never consider the Boy to be an appropriate hiding place where no one will notice him, even while it looks like he's criminally molesting the Boy. (celestialfray)
113. I will not inflate a one line role (such as Boy from Much Ado) into the focus of a scene, no matter how hilariously Benedick can molest him. It's a bit distracting. (celestialfray)
114. To that end, I will not cast extraordinarily charismatic actors in roles that essentially amount to cameos.
116. I will not be too cheap or lazy to change the sets, so that every scene in the play does not occur in the same 15x15 section of the backyard of some mansion/hotel. Some scenes make sense anywhere, but Hero getting dressed/ready outdoors in the same spot where the wedding is to occur makes little sense. (celestialfray)
117. I will consider all the ramifications before setting Shakespeare in a more modern time. Especially when it concerns the bigger plot points. Banishment seems like underkill for murder in the 20th Century. Likewise, death seems like overkill for a disobedient daughter in the late 1800s. (celestialfray)
118. I will not dress Goneril in dry-clean-only mint green silk shantung and then block her sitting on furniture containing substantial traces of "vile jelly" from the previous scene. (wiliqueen)
119. I will not permit my set designer to install, during tech week, a "little footbridge" that consumes a third of the stage. (wiliqueen)
120. No matter how nifty I think it would be to place Othello in an American Civil War setting, I will not require actors to perform outdoors in August in multiple layers of wool. (wiliqueen)
121. If I insist on directing myself as Henry V, I will learn my lines, since Katherine will be unable to provide me useful cues from nothing but various permutations of "I don't understand you." (wiliqueen)
122. If Macbeth is dressed in 1930s-era fascist chic, Lady Macbeth will not be allowed to dress in a 1960s caftan, complete with beads. (irish_horse)
123. I will not stage Macbeth as the leader of a Scottish mafia family. (irish_horse)
124. I will not put Titania in a neon-green wig, especially when the actress has perfectly fairy-esque short, curly brown hair. (the_dala)
125. I will not make my Midsummer Night fairies into furniture for the other actors to sit upon. It's cruel and painful, no matter how cool it looks, and the audience will laugh at them. (the_dala)
126. It is unwise to cast people simply because you're fucking them as any part in any play whatsoever. Unless it is first proven they can act. Especially as Rosalind in As You Like It or any other major role. (se_parsons)
127. The Three Witches in Macbeth should never appear clad entirely in burlap sacks, including sacks over their heads. And there's no reason to have 9 of them, even if you're trying to do some stupid Norn fates thing because it's SCOTLAND, OK? Not Scandinavia. (se_parsons)
128. Lady Macbeth doesn't start out the play insane. If she does, there's nowhere to go. It's called a character ARC! (se_parsons)
129. When you kill Duncan DO NOT put his body in a wardrobe that happens to be on the stage and then use the same wardrobe as an exit and entrance. It prompts audience comments about Duncan's going to Narnia and "Don't open the door, there's a dead guy in there!" (se_parsons)
130. Lady MacBeth should never give her biggest speeches lying facedown on a green couch. (se_parsons)
131. The Three Apparitions should NOT crawl offstage in full view of the audience after giving their speeches, particularly not while wearing a silver lame evening gown. (se_parsons)
132. If you are setting Macbeth in the modern era, there is no excuse for people fighting with broadswords in the subway, no matter how much you loved Highlander. (se_parsons)
133. 47 women in identical black wigs commuting on the train do not make good Three Witches. (se_parsons)
134. At the end of The Merry Wives of Windsor do NOT have the company arrive to torment Falstaff dressed as for Venetian Carnivale in all white robes with pointed hats. It ends up as a Klan rally gone seriously awry. Poking Falstaff with the point of your Klan hat should ABSOLUTELY be avoided as it causes uncontrollable laughter on the part of the audience. (se_parsons)
135. Even if you're short on budget, any set from The Merry Wives of Windsor should in no way resemble Faust's hell. (se_parsons)
136. If there isn't moral ambiguity in every major plotline in Measure for Measure you're doing it wrong. (se_parsons)
137. At no time will Hamlet be allowed to impale Claudius with a chandelier. (troyswann)
138. The Duke in Measure for Measure will not be allowed to descend from the heavens on a trapeze bearing the legend: deus ex machina. (troyswann)
139. I will never portray Lady Macbeth as practicing Wicca. Especially if the production keeps the play in medieval Scotland. (lysana)
140. I will not use a timpani as a substitute for dramatic tension during battle scenes. (lysana)
141. I must not let the poor messenger who must tell Macbeth that he's seen a moving grove stand there like one of its trees when he's being yelled at. It does not suit the tone of the scene. (lysana)
142. Hamlet's mother will not be played by a woman who could have gone to high school with the actor playing Hamlet. At least not without rather a lot of aging makeup! (starcat_jewel)
143. I will not set The Tempest in a Gilligan's Island episode, and have my actors play their roles as characters from the show. (swirling_poetry)
144. I will not have my fuller chested female actors play all the secondary male roles as guys, unless absolutely necesary. While I know males are few, I also know breast binding is painful. (swirling_poetry)
145. If I have a high concept production, I have to make sure it makes sense to people who aren't me. (swirling_poetry)
146. I will not allow my extremely young Juliet to have caffiene before the performance. She's supposed to be immature, not a Muppet on speed. (butterflykiki)
147. I will have a contingency plan for outdoor plays in case of disasters other than weather. For instance: search helicopters looking for fugitives in the area. The actors are accomplished clog-dancers, but it's not fair to ask them to do that for the interim. (butterflykiki)
148. If I am producing a play outdoors, I will make sure that all the actors are able to project enough to be heard by the whole audience. (magid)
149.I will not add pantomimed scenes to Merchant in an attempt to explicate his Jewish background and then-modern anti-Semitism. (magid)
150. If unable to avoid going post-modern, I will not cast and costume all major characters so similarly that they can not be told apart. It's just mean to the new kids. (glamsith)
151. Having Shylock pour blood on a prayer shawl and ululate in Hebrew while waving a curved knife during the trial is just overkill. (glamsith)
152.I will not cast the ghost of Hamlet's father as a tinny voice speaking from inside a green-lit coffin. (marycrawford)
153. Puck should not wear a tutu. Nor should he be twins. (marycrawford)
154. As much as I like the actress, I will not cast Hamlet as a woman pretending to be a man. (jhawk1729) [Actually, I like cross-casting when this device isn't employed -- ed.]
155. I will not have men in kilts leaping down from set pieces. (jhawk1729)
156. When the audience is close enough to touch the actors, I will not instruct them to swing sharp weapons, like axes. (jhawk1729)
157. I will not being A Midsummer Night's Dream with a song and dance number featuring Puck tap-dancing. (jhawk1729)
158. I will not replace all the famous lines in Romeo and Juliet with pantomime just because everybody already knows the lines. (jhawk1729)
159. Just because somebody can play an instrument, I won't necessarily have them do so. (jhawk1729)
160. I will not add a video flashback of Hamlet as a child playing with his father. (jhawk1729)
161. If I must stage Macbeth in a modern setting, there is no reason to dress the Scottish nobles as Hare Krishnas, especially if I also arm them with machine guns. (my_catharsis)
162. During the "Out, damned spot" speech in Macbeth, I will remind myself that there is no reason for Lady Macbeth to be peeing on her hands. The spot she's talking about is metaphoric blood, not piss! (my_catharsis)
163. I will not make the spirits summoned by the witches in Macbeth resemble glow-in-the-dark ducks in a shooting gallery. (my_catharsis)
164. Macbeth is not from Sheffield. No matter how talented the actor in question is, if he cannot do a convincing Scottish accent, he should not be cast as Macbeth. (avariel_wings) [I'm not actually averse to Scottish-accent-less Macbeths, as long as it's consistent, but see also #78 -- ed.]
165. At no time shall Romeo slap Tybalt with a fish. This is especially key during their confrontation in 3.1. (wattie)
166. I shall not cast a 6'6" walking wall as Tybalt and a 5'4" pretty little man as Romeo without giving some thought at least at how I will choreograph the above mentioned confrontation in 3.1. (wattie)
167. I shall not cast Tubal as a Mafia Don and make him the central focus of the entire production. Neither shall CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge be inserted into the production. (wattie)
168. If I am staging and outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet I will make sure that I use actual outdoor lights and not stagelights for the theater with grounding cords and just 'Hope for the best' and also make sure to use whatever is necessary to keep the nearby bats from attacking the audience. (belleimani)
169. I will never try to cast Richard III as a cyberpunk war between two companies. (chipuni)
170. I will not have Hecate in the back of every scene of Macbeth, posing and trying to look interested, nor will I have her do an impromptu dancer's leap off stage-left at the end of Act III. It will only make my audience giggle and point. (heavenscalyx)
171. If the text says "thou purple herb," I will use a purple flower. (batosai)
172. Hippolyta is an AMAZON QUEEN; I will not portray her as a weak woman. (batosai)
173. I will not let Leonardo DiCaprio near the production. (batosai)
174. I will not put Puck, nor Feste nor Lear's Fool, nor any other character, in a Maxfield Parrish-esque fool costume COMPLETE WITH BELLS. If I absolutely MUST do that, I will make certain that the bells do NOT jingle. (kid_lit_fan)
175. I will not allow juggling nor acrobatics to be involved in my production. (kid_lit_fan)
176. I will not have actors rap rhyming passages. (kid_lit_fan)
177. I will not cast as Charles the wrestler someone who is better-looking, more charismatic and more talented than the actor playing Orlando. Having the audience cheering for Charles is a bad thing. (slacktivist)
178. Spandex is not a costume, even for the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Especially pink and green spandex. (lareinenoire)
179. Do not have horrible dry-ice/cracking ground special effects for the end of the ghost scene in Hamlet. (lareinenoire)
180. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will not enter on a miniature train. (lareinenoire)
181. The balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet will take place on an actual balcony. It's important! (lareinenoire)
182. Olivia is not histrionic. Really, she isn't. Even if she's being played by a man in drag. (lareinenoire) [Actually, I disagree with this one; almost everyone in Twelfth Night is fairly histrionic, for that matter -- ed.]
183. Decide at the beginning precisely how evil/good you wish a character to be. Hell, decide how you wish a character to be played, and don't wander off in the opposite direction somewhere in Act IV. (lareinenoire)
184. Do not use a cooking video to illustrate the magical feast in The Tempest, no matter how funny it was at the time. (lareinenoire)
185. If my production involves a fight scene in any way, shape, or form, I will immediately add another month for rehearsal time. (rahaeli)
186. If my production involves a swordfight, and my actors assure me "Oh, yeah, I can swordfight just fine," I will double the planned rehearsal time and immediately triple the liability insurance for my production. (rahaeli)
187. If the play I am producing does not have a swordfight, I will resist the urge to add one. (rahaeli)
188. I will not use combs to substitute for knives. (rahaeli)
189. Nor will I use ski poles. (rahaeli)
190. Or big sticks. (rahaeli)
191. Anything that requires anyone to be flopping long sheets of cloth in the background to symbolize something, including our set designer's on strike, should probably be rethought. (bellatrys)
192. There is no reason to be tying people up in King John. Okay, maybe when putting out Arthur's eyes. But that's all. (antikate)
193. Juliet does not chew gum, even if she is fourteen. (avariel_wings)
194. I will not rehearse hand-to-hand fight scenes in small rooms with brick walls, unless I wish rehearsal to be held up by one of the actors suffering a concussion. (avariel_wings)
195. If I am going to stage anything outside a theatre requiring actors to be out in public with swords and armour, I will remember to warn the local police first. The show will not go on with half the cast in the cells. (avariel_wings)
196. I will avoid dressing people up like Nazis or Fascists. Especially in the Merchant of Venice. (chryx)
197. Mummification in Saran wrap does not make for a good costume, even for fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream. Especially if it is performed outdoors in the middle of summer. (dolphin__girl)
198. If I make the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream wear headlamps in my outdoor production because the lights look cool moving through the woods at night, I will come up with an alternative costuming idea for the matinee performances, when the lights just make them look like deranged miners. (dolphin__girl)
199. Beatrice is generally well-liked by everone except Benedick. Thus she should not be a raving bitch to everyone she meets. I will remember that there is a big difference between wit and PMS. (dolphin__girl)
200. If I decide it's a good idea to set Much Ado during the Spanish Civil War, I will refrain from altering massive swathes of the text to accomodate it, especially if I have no sense of meter. Shakespeare knew what he was doing. Benedick is NOT the fourth Stooge. (dolphin__girl)
201. Similarly, I will remember that Much Ado is a comedy. I will refrain from having the company dress in funerial black for the wedding, dance to sombre music, and then die in a bombing raid. Even if am labouring under the misapprehension that this would be terribly artistic. (dolphin__girl)
202. When Macbeth and Lady Macbeth meet for the first time, I will not transform their greeting into five to ten minutes of rolling around the stage making out, groping, and kissing like two teenagers in the back seat of a car. This goes double if I've costumed Lady Macbeth with a black leather miniskirt. If I do decide to go ahead with this insane idea, I shall make sure that the miniskirt is pointing away from the audience. (texas_tiger)
203. I will never dress Puck in a black t-shirt reading PCUK, even if it seems funny when I think of it. (not_vacillating)
204. I will never cause a character to fall into water (e.g. swimming pool) just because the actor looks good in a wet t-shirt. (not_vacillating)
205. I will not allow my actors to speak so fast that the words mean nothing. Neither will I encourage them to stress the iambic pentameter until the sense leaves the words. (not_vacillating)
205. Nor will I encourage them to hold their breath while other actors are speaking. (not_vacillating)
206. Nor will I require any actor playing a character who makes full use of sexual innuendo (Benedick, Beatrice, Juliet's Nurse, etc.) to garble those lines so that the innocent little children in the audience are not mentally damaged. Especially when said innocent little children are teenagers. (not_vacillating)
207. Nor will I cut the Drunken Porter out of Macbeth, or any other comic character from a tragedy. (not_vacillating)
208. And further to 130, "Lady Macbeth should never give her biggest speeches lying facedown on a green couch. (se_parsons)", may I add: Neither should Lady Macbeth give speeches while lying on her back in the bath, with her face underwater. (I've seen that done on film. It's deeply inadvisable.) (not_vacillating)
209. I will never have the cast of Midsummer Night's Dream try to pull members of the audience onto stage to dance. It's not very clever to begin with, and it takes so long to find someone willing to dance that the music finishes before you get back on stage. (telophase)
210. As useful as it is to be aware of history, Richard III should still be portrayed as an evil man possessed of grave physical faults. In a similar vein, despite having been sainted for how deeply he was loved by the people, Marlowe's Edward II should not be portrayed as a reasonable person. (colubra)
211. As tempting as recasting a Shakespeare play into a different historical era may be, it does require more of a twist than simply dressing people in different costumes, and I am neither Laurents nor Bernstein, let alone both. The Three Witches in Macbeth need never be portrayed as Central Park bag ladies; Hamlet need never be the tale of the son of a 30s mafioso instead of the son of a late-medieval Danish monarch. Twelfth Night does not need to be re-cast with the leads from the television show Friends. (colubra)
212. In Hamlet, the lead should not be gnawing on the scenery: between Gibson and Olivier, there's none left to chew on. (colubra)
213. Never give in to the temptation to use pyrotechnics during the storm at the beginning of The Tempest, especially when the gauze you have tied to the front of the stage is fireproof - but the paint on it isn't. Also, do not let your actors tip wine on Caliban in order to "get a more authentic reaction". It makes the costumes stinky. (apiphile)
214. While it gets a big laugh from the coarser members of the audience, there's something terribly unsavory about having Helena hump Demetrius' leg as she directs him to use her but as his spaniel. (noveldevice)
215. Also, pink ruffled pantaloons are a terrible costuming choice, as they encourage the actress playing Helena to kick up her heels, pull up her skirts, and cavort about on the floor in order that the audience might admire them. (noveldevice)
216. When directing/editing King Lear, I will not neglect, ignore, or entirely edit out the Edgar and Edmund subplot. (thehefner)
217. I will not have the major dramatic characters in Macbeth wear make-up that makes them appear as an animated stained glass window. (nitasee)
218. I will not have the entire cast of "Macbeth" clad entirely in black, except for Lady Macduff, who will be in pale blue. If I MUST, for some reason, costume everyone entirely in black, the set will NOT be entirely black as well.
219. I will not decide that Helen of Troy in Troilus and Cressida is actually a sports car, nor will Pandarus do lines of cocaine off of her. (I will especially not do this if I can't afford a real sports car and have to make do with a small toy Ferrari, set on a table). (king_duncan)
220. I will not have Patroclus' death in Troilus and Cressida" be symbolized by him posed, "dead" against the back wall, in a red spotlight. (king_duncan)
221. I will not have Dogberry hesitate at any point in Much Ado. Crazy though he is, he is entirely sure of himself. (king_duncan)
222. I will not cast Dogberry as a woman who thinks "sexy" is a good way to go with the character. (king_duncan)
223. When "the barber's man hath been with" Benedick, I will make him look at least slightly shaved. (king_duncan)
224. I will not make the Wyrd Sisters BORING. (king_duncan)
225. I will not incorporate an ominous witch-doctor woman into Romeo and Juliet, having her stalk the streets of Verona until she's finally revealed as the apothecary. (king_duncan)
226. I will not have Romeo and Juliet's clothes gradually become more modern as the play progresses, to symbolize that their love is eternal, especially if this means that Juliet has to wear a pink mini skirt for her death scene. (king_duncan)
227. If characters mention the music that they hear playing, I will make sure there is music for them to listen to. (king_duncan)
228. If I have to bring odd weapons to a sword fight, make sure that the actors using them really know how to use them. Especially the whip. (trishalynn)
229. I will not stage the musicians in the "Music has a silvery sound" schtick from Romeo and Juliet as if they were the Blues Brothers. (queencallipygos)
230. If I'm going to dress the cast of Hamlet in a vaguely 40's era costume scheme, I will not then later on send Laertes running onstage wearing camoflauge tights while carrying an Uzi. (queencallipygos)
231. I will not under any circumstances allow the three Weird Sisters in Macbeth writhe and squeal as if they are in the grips of some sort of sexual ecstatic state. (queencallipygos)
232. I will not cast Hamlet as two people, one male and one female. (museclio)
233. I shall not give Thisbe cleavage by blowing up multi-coloured latex balloons and taping them under her dress; furthermore, during Thisbe's death scene, I shall not tape a safety pin to the end of Pyramus' sword and allow Thisbe to pop said balloons for comic relief as she tragically stabs herself. (five_x_five)
234. I shall not allow teenage students out of Washington D.C. to end their already shoddy performance of A Comedy of Errors by humping each other during their curtain call. (five_x_five)
235. I will never allow the unnecessary pause between "to be" and "or not to be" to last more than ten seconds, no matter how much the actor playing Hamlet believes it will transform him into Olivier. If he draws it out for more than twenty seconds during any rehearsal, I will recast the part. However, for the good of the production, should an actor decide he must surprise me with this behaviour in front of an audience, I will wait a full minute for him to continue before giving in to the urge to humiliate him by feeding him his line in a loud stage whisper. (ceruleanst)
236. I will not set Macbeth in World War Two era garb, leave Hecate on stage -- in a rocking chair -- for the entire fourth and fifth act, and then have the Weird Sisters perform the killing blow to Macbeth. There is also no need to make Hecate a sexually ambiguous goth with a walking stick. (elpblonde)
237. The "Man of Wax" Paris will never be an ugly fat man. (alfstein)
238. The Nurse will not face the audience with every line, no matter how much musical theatre experience she has. (alfstein)
239. Romeo will not be the best sword fighter in my production. (alfstein)
240. I will not allow Mercutio to accidently stab Tybalt in the arm on the night of first preview in warmups. (alfstein)
241. If an actor cannot convincingly cry on stage I will not force them to state the lines bo ho ho bo ho ho in their place (Lady Capulet in particular). (alfstein)
242. I will not cut Romeo's "O brawling love" monologue... ever!!! (alfstein)
243. I will not allow, no matter how tempting or how realistic, the production's Romeo to drink warm soy sauce as poison... It is unneccesary and unpleasent to him and those all around him (including Juliet who then must kiss his lips). (alfstein)
244. I will not have a menacing looming evil Tybalt with a very soft voice... He should always be an anal, violent, proud metrosexual who kicks ass with a rapier. (alfstein)
245. I will not put real vodka into one's grape-juice (doubling as wine) when the actor had just been in a car accident and is surviving through the show on hydrocodone. (alfstein)
246. I will never allow the Prince to ad-lib/paraphrase his opening monologue. (alfstein)
247. When in rehearsal I will not force my Romeo to perform the "banished" scene at performance level 8 times in a row... he will die. (alfstein)
248. I will not allow the fight choreographer to give acting notes. (alfstein)
249. Romeo's tunic will not be covered in ORANGE flowers. (alfstein)
250. While in a period production, even a low budget production, Romeo's boots will not have an "Adidas" visibly in sight. (alfstein)
251. If I must give in to my need to modernize Much Ado About Nothing, I will not set the entire play in an art gallery, and make Benedick attempt to hide by pretending to become part of the paintings. (ktnb)
252. I will not give the part of Bottom to a drunken frat boy who gets aroused at the mere touch of a woman. This is doubly important if the girl playing Titania is especially attractive. (ktnb)
253. If I ignore the above, I will never let Bottom lie on his back, no matter how amusing the actor might insist it would be. (ktnb)
254. Titania/Bottom sex scenes are never necessary. This is especially true when using an actor who's clearly very proud of his braying abilities and wants the whole world to know it. (briargate)
255. Casting a black Desdemona alongside a black Othello is kind of missing the point a bit. (briargate)
256. The Montague clan are not aliens. No, really, they're not. (briargate)
257. No matter how much homoerotic subtext has been built up over the course of the play, I will not end Richard II by having Henry pull Richard's dead body out of a pool of water, having him proceed to lie on top of it, and then roll, the one over the other, all over the stage in complete silence until the curtain comes to hide them from the audience's bleeding eyes. (euryale000)
258. In a production of As You Like It, I will not portray the banished Duke and his followers as a community of Mennonites simply because I have an excess of those costumes in the costume storage shop. (lcohen)
259. I will never cast Hamlet as a horse just so I can have characters ride around on his back during the so-called sexually tense scenes. (littleshebear)
260. Never set The Taming of the Shrew in a 1950's Bakersfield Bowling Alley, complete with Bianca in a poodle skirt, Petruchio with Elvis hair and a motorcycle, and especially not with Kate belting out "You Don't Own Me." (shawk)
261. Also, it would be wise to avoid ever staging Macbeth as if it were Reservoir Dogs, especially if the witches are going to be homeless people clinging to chain link fences. (shawk)
262. I will not put homosexual text into Julius Caesar, especially not between Brutus and Cassius. It's called subtext for a reason. (tobiascharity)
263. If I must stage Macbeth as set during Nazi-era Germany, I won't let Macbeth wear a kilt and a red swastika armband. (tobiascharity)
264. As thematically interesting as it may be, the Nurse from Romeo and Juliet shall neither be younger and prettier than Juliet, nor having some kind of on-stage affair with Romeo. (muffytaj)
265. Do not set fire to the actors to emphasise their emotions. It never helps. (muffytaj)
266. If I am staging a high school production and I know there aren't any black actors in the school, I will not do Othello. (cathieanne)
267. I will not cut the entire Fortinbras storyline from Hamlet to save time, only to have him pop up at the end. (cathieanne)
268. I will not end Comedy of Errors with a shower of "gold" foil coins and a Singing In the Rain-esque umbrella dance while the cast sings "Pennies from Heaven." (lizzybees)
269. I will not be afraid to portray Romeo and Juliet as a comedy, but whether I portray it as a comedy or tragedy, I will decide that before I have auditions. (ladecker)
270. No matter how brilliantly Terry Pratchett skewered Macbeth, do not portray the Wyrd Sisters as Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat. (katfairy)
271. If, in the middle of a full dress rehearsal, an alarm goes off and forces the evacuation of the building, it really is a good idea to continue the rehearsal outside as if nothing has changed. It helps them get used to bizarre occurences while performing; it helps keep them warm (especially if it's a particularly energetic scene); and it's free publicity to boot. (katfairy)
272. If your actors are wearing strange makeup (ghosts, for instance), do not let them leave the theater until they have removed said makeup. Remind them that should they be pulled over for speeding, the cops are very likely to take one look at them and call for backup and possibly even pull their guns. (katfairy)
273. Do not EVER, under ANY circumstances, dress fairies in 1950's style prom gowns. (katfairy)
274. If you decide to put Christmas lights in your fairies' hair, try to find a better way to hide the battery pack than making a huge corsage and pinning it to their chests. This is especially important if you ignored the last rule. (katfairy)
275. If I absolutely must stage Julius Caesar on 1930's Wall Street, I will not make it impossible to tell the characters apart -- identical suits and haircuts do not a good production make. (weyrlady)
276. Taming of the Shrew may, possibly, work when set in the Wild West. It will not work, however, if ALL the characters are shouting ALL their lines in horrible Texas accents. (weyrlady)
277. A Midsummer Night's Dream should not have multiple make-out scenes between Oberon and Puck. Especially when Puck is 12, and Oberon is 28. (weyrlady) [Ew. -- ed.]
278. Beatrice should not be sweet, quiet, or complacent. She should also NOT be hanging off Benedick's arm from the moment he's introduced in the play. It's called a plot, people. Figure it out. (weyrlady)
279. In any play where characters disguise themselves, I will not cast the same actor in two different major roles. (anonymous)
280. The main theme of Richard III is not the suffering of the female characters. Even if it were, a sound design of continuous wailing is not the best way to represent this. (anonymous)
281. My set designer, props master and costumer will know what period I am setting the play in. They will speak to me and each other frequently, so that they will discover any confusion on this point. (anonymous)
282. Steps do not have an 18 inch rise. Actors will not learn to deal with this. (anonymous)
283. If I have to include Hecate, I will not cast a pretty boy and put him in a white dress and give him white contact lenses, no matter how "cool" I think it is. Particularly when this makes "her" look like a Greek statue, but I have the witches in ballet-class "rags" and blue paint. (delerieuse)
284. I will check up on the set designer on a regular basis so that they do not surprise me when the time comes to put the set in the proper space by 1) not showing up and 2) not having done anything but paint a bunch of platforms black. Especially when my original set design didn't call for any black whatsoever. (katfairy)
285. I will check up on the costume designer on a regular basis so that they do not surprise me two weeks before opening night by coming into the prod staff meeting with a single suitcase full of fabric and a half-assembled costume and saying, "Well, this is what I've done so far..." (katfairy)
286. I will also make sure that the costume designer is aware that if they measure people for their costumes, they should not measure them over their clothes, particularly when the temperature has been in the lower forties. (katfairy)
287. I will never stage Macbeth entirely in freestyle rap. (nextian)
288. Failing this, I will absolutely not have the first act staged normally and the second act in rap -- the contrast will be immediately obvious and the "out damn spot" scene does not work when Lady Macbeth is clearly sane enough to talk in perfect rhythm, if not sane enough to turn down the part. (nextian)
289. Failing both of the above I will at least not attempt this with a class of middle-school, middle-class, white Jewish students who wouldn't know rap if it bit them on the ass and who have only fourteen days of rehearsal time. Total. (nextian)
290. I won't ever have Romeo shoot Tybalt in the back. (l33tminion)
291. I will not allow my actors to fight with real unblunted swords until I am absolutely sure there will not be any nasty accidents, even if this means they are using stage swords throughout. It does not help a production for the lead actor to have his hand sliced open. (avariel_wings)
292. I will never, when directing Romeo and Juliet, choose to set it outdoors near a known landing site for rescue helicopters, as it confuses the audience during the tomb scene. (mercurialmind)
293. I will never cast the same actor as both Mercutio and Lord Capulet, without a major costume change to alert the audience that no, this is not Mercutio returned from the dead to berate Juliet for not wanting to marry his murderer. (mercurialmind)
294. I will never instruct Romeo and Juliet to "die faster, people didn't come here to see you two die." (mercurialmind)
295. I will never inform my costume crew, after they've finished the fairies costumes for Midsummer, that I've changed my mind about the entire cast looking like various rock/pop/alternative musical groups, and am instead going for a late Victorian garden party setting--then tell them to just leave the fairy costumes as they are, but make everyone else's fit the new theme. (mercurialmind)
296. I will never tell my actors that they don't need to understand the text, they just need to say it. (mercurialmind)
297. I will never use a Shakespearean play as an excuse to parade about my fascination with homosexuality, or slash fiction: Not everyone is in love with Romeo, especially not Tybalt, Mercutio, or Lord Capulet. He is not to enter the party scene like a young boy at a pedophilia convention. (mercurialmind)
298. I will never, ever, ever, use an Enrique Iglesias song as background music for a love scene. It makes the audience gag. (mercurialmind)
299. Also, I will never attempt to cast Bottom as a woman, in order to make the scenes between Bottom and Titania "hotter." (mercurialmind)
300. I will under no circumstances have the same actor play Hamlet, the king and Hamlet's father, thus allowing a fight scene where Hamlet beats up an ugly blow-up doll. (dancing_moon)
301. Nor will I use three-meter-long sticks held at crotch-level instead of swords for the fight scenes, because the audience will wonder what their director has been smoking, verily. (dancing_moon)
302. I will not have the background music be loud drums and metallic sounds that makes it impossible for the audience to hear what is being said. (dancing_moon)
303. I will not present Macbeth with Klingon characterization (no matter how many Trekkies are in the cast). (tibetanmonastic)
304. It's fine to cast people of various different body-types as the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream. However, you should not then costume said fairies in lycra body stockings. Particularly if the first thought the audience members have upon seeing Titania & Oberon's attendants is: Wow, look at all the chunky fairies! (lady_isabella)
305. If you're going to cast Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream with a female actor instead of male, make a decision at the start of the production as to whether the character onstage is male or female. If Lysander is going to be female (i.e., same-sex couple with Hermia), it is confusing to have Lysander wearing a man's doublet & trousers, other characters referring to Lysander as 'he'...and then have Lysander get married in what is clearly a woman's wedding dress complete with veil. (lady_isabella)
306. Trying to do Macbeth set in a pseudo-prehistoric Scotland set...complete with an enormous Georgia O'Keefe cow skull, lots of chains hanging around and inexplicable macrame tabards for Macbeth his Lady...is a really bad idea. Trust me. (lady_isabella)
307. Similarly, do not conceptualize Taming of the Shrew as being a B-grade Sci-Fi movie wherein Bianca's lesser would-be lovers are costumed as lizard men. (lady_isabella)
308. If Shakespeare had intended for any character to say, "YEEEEEEEEHAW!", it would have appeared in the text. (mrissa)
309. No matter how clever it seems, in no way will Death stalk both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This is especially true if the costume consists of a black tracksuit with a glow-in-the-dark Halloween mask. (voodo0chili)
310. If I deem it necessary to change the time period of Romeo and Juliet, I will make sure that Friar Laurence is not replaced by an aging hippie. (voodo0chili)
311. I will not set Macbeth in a post-apocalyptic future wasteland. Furthermore, under no circumstance will Banquo be a robot, alien, mutant, or any combination of the above. (fizzbang)
312. The cauldron scene in Macbeth should be recited as an incantation, not as a grocery list. (bneuensc)
313. I will not use a basketball in a sack for Macbeth's severed head. If I absolutely must do so, I will let out enough air from the ruddy ball so that it does not bounce when it hits the stage, and I will anoint the stupid sack with stage blood to make it look a little more convincing. (dakiwibold)
314. I will not kill Banquo by lethal injection (with or without O Mio Babbino Caro blaring in the background). (jennyanydots21)
315. I will not have a loop tape of "No! Not the baby! Aaaghh!" playing at any time during the scene in which Macduff's family are murdered; particularly not after everybody has left the stage. (jennyanydots21)
316. Should I choose to portray Lady Macduff as pregnant, I will ensure that her bump is secure. (jennyanydots21)
317. A bunch of people dancing around with suitcases is not an acceptable substitute for the whole Three Witches thing. (jennyanydots21)
318. When Macbeth exclaims that he sees a dagger before him, a machete is not an acceptable alternative. (voodo0chili)
319. Upon being stabbed, Tybalt should die, not propel himself backwards across the entire length of the stage. (voodo0chili)
320. Make sure the actor cast as Juliet can actually pronounce the letter R correctly. Please, for the love of God. (voodo0chili)
321. Any actors should be forbidden from calling anyone "Dude". This also applies to minor characters. (voodo0chili)
322. I will cast actors in age-appropriate roles as far as I can. If it is necessary for me to cast young actors as old characters, I will instruct them that it is possible for them to age their delivery without being twitchy and shrill. Also, if I have a younger actor playing someone whose advanced age is frequently mentioned, I will make sure he spends some time with the makeup people rather than going about the stage not looking a day over twenty-six.
323. Along similar lines, I (unlike most casting directors) will remember that both Henry IV and Edward IV were only in their early forties when they died, and as such will insist that they're portrayed as prematurely aged.
324. I will not allow actors playing such roles as Juliet's Nurse, Queen Margaret (in Richard III), Mistress Quickly, or Justice Shallow to deliver their lines in a tone that can shatter glass. To that end, I may bring wineglasses to rehearsals.
325. I will not let the "recruiting of soldiers" scene in 2 Henry IV drag on for an inordinately long time. Neither will I allow the actor playing the woman's tailor in said scene to use a Stereotypically Gay Lisp and mince about embarrassingly.
326. I will not costume Henry V in Star Trek uniforms. (cumaeansibyl)
327. I will not decide to costume my three weird sisters in skintight bodysuits before casting them, causing me to reject talented actresses who are a bit heavier, because this will make said actresses very very bitter. (cumaeansibyl)
328. I will remember that updating Othello and making him a boxer would require me to cut around ten pages from the play entirely. (cyanide_blue)
329. I will not add four scenes to Othello in order to make things clearer to the audience, when the show's already been clocked at three and a half hours. (cyanide_blue)
330. Making Iago a woman is a bad idea. Making her seduce Roderigo is a worse idea. (cyanide_blue)
331. I will not add 'Iago's dream scene' before the murder of Desdemona, with strobe lights, for an excuse for the female!Iago to kiss Desdemona and Emilia. This scene will also not have modestmouse blaring in the background. (cyanide_blue)
332. Techies should never be forced to play fairies in Midsummer just so they can move sets. They're disgruntled enough as it is. (cyanide_blue)
333. Boxcutters are not swords, and no actor is good enough to convince the audience that they are. (cyanide_blue)
334. It is rarely necessary for a costume to involve spandex, red sequins, silver lamé, or chicken wire, and certainly never necessary to involve a combination of them all. (cyborgirl)
335. I will not cast people who sound like Kermit the Frog. I will particularly not cast them in dramatic or romantic roles as this makes it impossible for the audience to take the play at all seriously. (Jim Henson and company are of course exempt from this rule, but no one else is.) (ashfae)
336. When staging a production of Marlowe's Faustus, DO NOT, EVER, under ANY circumstances, instruct your Chorus to add the words "Good night, sweet Faustus" to the end of the play in order to cue the audience in that it's over (the Chorus in question just might throttle you, and term marks be damned). (coppertone)
337. I will not decide I'm a lesbian during the production and run away with the stage manager, leaving the cast to get by as they will. (mslaynie)
338. I will not, under any circumstances, infuriate the costume designer, set designer, or the cast to the point that they leave before finishing (or even starting) their jobs. (mslaynie)
339. I will not pronounce "Titania" to rhyme with Titanium. (mslaynie)
340. I will not dress the fairies in glitter and a few carefully-placed leaves. (mslaynie)
341. I will not costume my actors as if they are extras from the Year of the Sex Olympics. (queeniefox)
342. I will not abridge Hamlet to last less than an hour unless I am a member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company because although there is a possibility it may make the play more accessable to the morons in the audience it will most likely suck. A lot. (queeniefox)
343. I may do A Midsummer Night's Dream in period costume. I may do it in modern costume. I will never do a MND with all in period costume except for the fairies, who are in biker leathers. (calligrafiti)
344. I will not costume fairies in nothing but body paint. (katfairy)
345. I will not costume fairies in shorts and hiking boots. (katfairy)
346. If I am trying to move both my job and my apartment while playing my first leading role, I will not let myself be talked into being the costume designer -- especially if I can't sew. (katfairy)
347. I will not decide that the best way to portray "Exit, pursued by a a bear" is to have the rest of the cast dressed in brown and do some sort of modern-dance amoeba thing to absorb the character. (easyalchemy)
348. If you present The Merchant of Venice and decide that Gratiano should not be funny or Lorenzo should not be very attractive to Jessica, your actors in these roles will get very angry since you are taking away the one dimension which these roles were written with. (anonymous)
349. I will never say "And under no condition will I trim this Shakespearean script, even if the production is four hours long!" (anonymous) [I don't know, I'm rather fond of full-text Shakespeare myself. Though if I ever direct any, I will make sure it moves at a respectable pace. -- ed.]
350. However, if you do decide to cut the script, you will not write your own soliloquies to insert at various points. (anonymous)
351. If I have only one experienced actor in the cast, I will not give him a role with only four lines. (anonymous)
352. If your needy, controlling and untalented spouse demands the lead role or they will leave you, find an excuse not to direct that production! (anonymous)
353. Under no circumstances should the sound designer decide that it is a good idea to have the fairies in MND dance to "Chim-chim-cherree" (from Mary Poppins) instead of "Philomel With Melody". (anonymous)
354. If doing a night outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the highlands of Scotland (which isn't recommended because the audience would be frozen popsicles by the end anyway), don't have the female members of the cast run around barefeet and in sundresses or Oberon without a shirt. It's not nice to the actors. (silentrequiem)
355. If must have one of the characters sing, don't have the accompanying music so loud that you can't hear the words. (silentrequiem)
356. In the same vein, make sure the actor can actually carry a tune and stay in key. (silentrequiem)
357. I will not dress Oberon as Aladdin and top it off with ballet slippers and a crown of thorns. Particularly when Titania is wearing something resembling a toga with gold embroidered seashells. (erture)
358. If cast members, especially fairies, are supposed to sing, I will make sure they can actually sing before opening night. (erture)
359. No matter how cool it looks to have fairies in Midsummer carrying candles in the final scene, I will refrain. Wings, flowing gauze skirts, and flower garlands are highly flammable. At best, I will have fairies mincing with looks of terror. At worst, they will catch fire. I will also not have them leaping and dancing over scenery while carrying lit candles. (erture)
Comments 
13 November 2004, 11:56 pm (UTC)
"I will not have Henry throwing tomatoes at a spinning fan blade whilst yelling at Montjoy."

"I will not have dancing girls at Agincourt."

"I will not have dancing girls at Berkeley, either, despite the fact that Bolingbroke may like them..."

Uhh... ;)
13 March 2006, 06:44 pm (UTC) - What a pity...
...I like dancing girls. :)

I will not stage Macbeth using any of the voices from "The Simpsons," despite the success of certain others in doing so.

(I've got a link to the list in my blog, btw.)
(no subject) - Anonymous - expand
14 November 2004, 12:23 am (UTC)
"I will not portray Mercutio as a speed addict and Tybalt as his dealer. I will try to do the world a favour and cease from modernising Romeo and Juliet."

aaaaaaaaand

"I will not let Glen Close within ten feet of any Shakespearian text." (Because watching Hamlet in English class with her is opening up old wounds for me at this point...)

14 November 2004, 12:37 am (UTC)
I agree with most of these, except that RII's minions should always wear pink. *g*

I would like to add:

In a production of Cymbeline, Jupiter should not be played as some kind of bizarre winged thing on a high metal contraption with a magnifying glass for a face. Additionally, portraying the Leonati as four faceless figures swathed in one long, connected white cloth and bunches of gold Christmas lights with their lines delivered from offstage through the sound system that echoes and is impossible to understand is a bad idea.
14 November 2004, 01:13 am (UTC)
Followed poisoninjest here.

I will recognize that there is never a need for a monolith ala 2001: A Space Odyssey in MacBeth.
14 November 2004, 01:27 am (UTC)
I will not project a PowerPoint slideshow onto a large screen above and behind the actors, ever, for any reason, no matter what.

I will refrain from "correcting" the text politically or "improving" it to avoid possible offense.
14 November 2004, 01:39 am (UTC)
I'm trying to think of DSP lessons you can carry over as well but I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas?
14 November 2004, 01:52 am (UTC)
Well, there is "I will set deadlines and enforce them"! ;)
14 November 2004, 01:52 am (UTC)
how about....

Thematically apt though it may be, I shall not have anyone in Twelfth Night resemble a character from Rocky Horror.
21 November 2004, 04:35 am (UTC)
O_o Who, for example?
14 November 2004, 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh, but surely every production of R&J should take plaxxe in a foot of water! Doesn't every audience love getting soaked?

*sigh*

I am in total agreement re: Keanu.

I also agree about Titania not being a dominatrix, but I did recently see a production of Othello that had Bianca as a dominatrix, and it worked pretty well. :-P
14 November 2004, 02:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think could picture dominatrix!Bianca. ;)

I actually saw a Twelfth Night a couple of days ago that had a waterlogged stage, although they at least took precautions to not get any on the audience. At any rate, even the actors probably got more drenched from the fountain of spit Sir Toby sprayed on every single line (whence #84)...
14 November 2004, 02:46 am (UTC)
Firstly, 14. If I must cut the Henry VI plays down to two, I will not leave the superbly dramatic death scenes of important supporting characters offstage.

WHO DID THIS? THAT I MAY FIND AND KILL THEM. (Also, which character[s]? For curiousity's sake.)

That said,

I will not allow my actors to suffer under the misapprehension that "more spittle" = "better Acting"

I will reserve the "drunken fool" interpretation for those characters for which it is textually sound to do so. Falstaff in Merry Wives is one of those characters. Don Pedro in Much Ado is not.

Additionally, I will keep Don Pedro's marriage proposal to Beatrice ambiguous.

I will not have sheep in my pastoral scenes.

I will not put La Pucelle in a Xena-esque metal bikini, no matter how attractive the actor's legs and stomach are.

I will remember that Cordelia, despite her youth, is not a whiner.

Nice list. :)
14 November 2004, 02:50 am (UTC)
WHO DID THIS? THAT I MAY FIND AND KILL THEM. (Also, which character[s]? For curiousity's sake.)

The Stratford, Ontario production in 2002, and the characters in question were Cardinal Beaufort and Jack Cade -- the Cardinal's death was reported but not seen, and the first we heard of Cade's death was when Alexander Iden showed up with his head. I was ready to spit nails.

Thanks for the suggestions! Those are great!
14 November 2004, 02:46 am (UTC)
No matter how clever or "modern" the production, no characters in Shakespeare will ever be portrayed at a rave.

I will not cut the mythological "filler" from characters' dialogue to shorten a play's running time.
14 November 2004, 02:51 am (UTC)
Oh, good call on the second one! I hate when productions do that...
(Deleted comment)
14 November 2004, 03:41 am (UTC)
Also I will proofread my comments before posting :-)

*sporfles uncontrollably and friends*

"My Gracious Lord of Canterbury, We have decided not to invade France at this time. Anyone for Tennis?"

*Exeunt Omnes*

103) Either Hamelt is mad, or not.
Either Ophelia is a virgin at the time of her death, or not.
All are defensible positions, but I shall make a decision early in rehearsals and stick to it.

104) Henry V is Henry V and Blackadder is Blackadder. Cast members who are playing members of the French nobility shall refrain from speaking deliberately execrable French; neither shall they speak English with a comic accent. Violators will be tossed to bilingual members of the audience for chastisement.
14 November 2004, 03:42 am (UTC)
No matter how much I may personally be enthralled by Dadaism, I will not insert random Dadaist elements into a production of "Taming of the Shrew". I will especially not have actors carrying gigantic black bowlers through the scenes for absolutely no reason.
14 November 2004, 03:55 am (UTC)
Oh, and also from that performance of "Shrew":

I will not insert Oberon and the entire Faery Court into "Taming of the Shrew" so that I can turn the story into a drunken tailor's surreal dream sequence stage-managed by Oberon, with the Faery Court playing all the roles except Petruchio.
14 November 2004, 04:20 am (UTC)
Wordy McWord to all of the above, except for #76 -- I was Jaques once, and sang, and I didn't think it came off badly. It all depends on the song and, obviously, the acting. Court song-and-dance numbers are probably a bad plan, but some of the smaller Arden ones (I'm thinking "Under the greenwood tree" -- is that what you meant by ducdamè?) wouldn't be that bad.

Some of the others, though, erk. For example, monoliths are right out; I recently saw a King Lear with a monolith. And I'll add Lear's Fool to the list of people who should probably be wearing more than Gollum, if I may.
14 November 2004, 05:16 am (UTC)
I'm thinking "Under the greenwood tree" -- is that what you meant by ducdamè?

Yeah, that's the one. On the concept as a whole I'm thinking largely of the production the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival did this past summer, in which Duke Senior's court had a tendency to break into fairly elaborate Cole Porterish musical numbers; it was actually pretty well-performed (though it was weird when "It Was a Lover and His Lass" turned into a rap halfway through), but really, not the sort of thing I imagine Jaques would do, seeming to me to be more the type to hang back and smirk.

And yeah, good point about the Fool!
14 November 2004, 06:10 am (UTC)
"I will not use a chipmunk puppet, a frog puppet, and a neon green alligator puppet (or indeed, any puppets at all) instead of actors."

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2000, Cambridge, England. Titania's court. The image of the puppets singing 'Philomel and melody...' is permanently etched in my brain.
14 November 2004, 06:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, but what if it's something cool like this?

Of course, that's something different entirely -- singing chipmunks and alligators definitely need to be eschewed. Particularly since I'm now envisioning the Chipmunks singing "Philomel with melody" in their electronic-castrato voices, and that's really kind of an upsetting thought. ;)
14 November 2004, 10:14 am (UTC)
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear!
15 November 2004, 12:08 am (UTC)
I will not portray Oberon and Puck as two handsome and well-built young men dressed in little more than blue and green paint. This is for the simple reason that it is distracting.
15 November 2004, 02:06 am (UTC)
I love you and am friending you. *g*

- Even if I have seen Franco Zeferelli's Romeo and Juliet, I will not make it blindingly obvious that Mercutio wants to jump Romeo's bones

- I will not have two characters of different races play siblings

(I'll never forgive Kenneth Branagh for that. Threw me right out of the movie. Especially when the guys are Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves.)
15 November 2004, 05:06 am (UTC)
Well, Don Pedro and Don John are only half-siblings, to be fair -- though it's still less than realistic, particularly on film...

Even if I have seen Franco Zeferelli's Romeo and Juliet, I will not make it blindingly obvious that Mercutio wants to jump Romeo's bones

What about hinting that Mercutio wants to jump Romeo's bones? ;)
15 November 2004, 09:09 am (UTC)
6. When employing non-traditional casting choices (along gender or racial lines) I will not employ embarrassing stereotypes alongside them.

Word. At a recent production by Taproot Theater in Seattle of Much Ado About Nothing, they cast Dogberry and Verges as women. Which would normally wouldn't be a problem, except that they also made them shrill and overtly sexual. (Which suggests how they got their position). The dominatrix style whip didn't help.


More inspired by this production:

I will not cater to the lowest common denominator in making already comedic scenes funny by making the characters stupid. Benedick should never consider the Boy to be an appropriate hiding place where no one will notice him, even while it looks like he's criminally molesting the Boy.

I will not inflate a one line role (such as Boy from Much Ado) into the focus of a scene, no matter how hilariously Benedick can molest him. It's a bit distracting.

I will not be too cheap or lazy to change the sets, so that every scene in the play does not occur in the same 15x15 section of the backyard of some mansion/hotel. Some scenes make sense anywhere, but Hero getting dressed/ready outdoors in the same spot where the wedding is to occur makes little sense.

And just randomly:

I will consider all the ramifications before setting Shakespeare in a more modern time. Especially when it concerns the bigger plot points. Banishment seems like underkill for murder in the 20th Century. Likewise, death seems like overkill for a disobedient daughter in the late 1800s.
15 November 2004, 03:41 pm (UTC)
Word on the last one. I'm all for modern-dress Shakespeare -- I know there are those who don't like it -- but I do think it needs to be carefully handled, just on the grounds that it really exposes a lot of the differences between his time and our own (and sometimes makes it harder to suspend disbelief).

I will not inflate a one line role (such as Boy from Much Ado) into the focus of a scene, no matter how hilariously Benedick can molest him. It's a bit distracting.

And, as an addendum to that, "To that end, I will not cast an extraordinarily charismatic actor in a part that essentially amounts to a cameo." (she says, thinking of a comment she read once about Mark Rylance's appearance in a bit role in Cymbeline...)
15 November 2004, 03:19 pm (UTC)
Now, this is the way to start my week! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

My own observations:

  • I will not dress Goneril in dry-clean-only mint green silk shantung and then block her sitting on furniture containing substantial traces of "vile jelly" from the previous scene.

  • I will not permit my set designer to install, during tech week, a "little footbridge" that consumes a third of the stage.

  • No matter how nifty I think it would be to place Othello in an American Civil War setting, I will not require actors to perform outdoors in August in multiple layers of wool.
15 November 2004, 03:43 pm (UTC)
Hee! I was a techie for a show (though not a Shakespeare production -- it was The Mikado) that installed just such a "little footbridge" during tech week. The looks on the faces of the cast when we brought it in were...interesting.

(Actually, I nearly managed to get beheaded helping to bring the thing in...)
15 November 2004, 03:24 pm (UTC)
Oops, one more...

  • If I insist on directing myself as Henry V, I will learn my lines, since Katherine will be unable to provide me useful cues from nothing but various permutations of "I don't understand you."
15 November 2004, 03:43 pm (UTC)
Wow, I almost don't want to know the story behind this one... ;)
15 November 2004, 05:26 pm (UTC)
If MacBeth is dressed in 1930s-era fascist chic, Lady MacBeth will not be allowed to dress in a 1960s caftan, complete with beads.

I will not stage MacBeth as the leader of a Scottish mafia family.

15 November 2004, 05:27 pm (UTC)
If you've room for more...

I will not put Titania in a neon-green wig, especially when the actress has perfectly fairy-esque short, curly brown hair.

I will not make my Midsummer Night fairies into furniture for the other actors to sit upon. It's cruel and painful, no matter how cool it looks, and the audience will laugh at them.
15 November 2004, 06:18 pm (UTC) - 29. I will not overlook either the pro-war or the anti-war side of Henry V.
Amen.Madam,I am your devoted servant.
16 November 2004, 12:36 am (UTC) - Re: 29. I will not overlook either the pro-war or the anti-war side of Henry V.
Why, thank you! It's always nice to have devoted servants. ;)
15 November 2004, 06:37 pm (UTC)
Popped over here from a link on a friend's journal. I've really seen the things below.



It is unwise to cast people simply because you're fucking them as any part in any play whatsoever. Unless it is first proven they can act. Especially as Rosalind in "As You Like It" or any other major role.

The Three Witches in Macbeth should never appear clad entirely in burlap sacks, including sacks over their heads. And there's no reason to have 9 of them, even if you're trying to do some stupid Norn fates thing because it's SCOTLAND, ok? Not Scandinavia.

Lady MacBeth doesn't start out the play insane. If she does, there's nowhere to go. It's called a character ARC!

When you kill Duncan DO NOT put his body in a wardrobe that happens to be on the stage and then use the same wardrobe as an exit and entrance. It prompts audience comments about Duncan's going to Narnia and "Don't open the door, there's a dead guy in there!"

Lady MacBeth should never give her biggest speeches lying facedown on a green couch.

The Three Apparitions should NOT crawl offstage in full view of the audience after giving their speeches, particularly not while wearing a silver lame evening gown.

If you are setting MacBeth in the modern era, there is no excuse for people fighting with broadswords in the Subway, no matter how much you loved Highlander.

47 women in identical black wigs commuting on the train do not make good Three Witches.

At the end of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" do NOT have the company arrive to torment Falstaff dressed as for Venetian Carnivale in all white robes with pointed hats. It ends up as a Klan rally gone seriously awry. Poking Falstaff with the point of your Klan hat should ABSOLUTELY be avoided as it causes uncontrollable laughter on the part of the audience.

Even if you're short on budget, any set from "The Merry Wives of Windsor" should in no way resemble Faust's hell.

If there isn't moral ambiguity in every major plotline in "Measure for Measure" you're doing it wrong.



15 November 2004, 09:12 pm (UTC)
These are hilarious!

Additions:

- I will not cast the ghost of Hamlet's father as a tinny voice speaking from inside a green-lit coffin.

- Puck should not wear a tutu. Nor should he be twins.
15 November 2004, 07:50 pm (UTC)
At no time will Hamlet be allowed to impale Claudius with a chandelier.

The Duke in Measure for Measure will not be allowed to descend from the heavens on a trapeze bearing the legend: deus ex machina.
15 November 2004, 08:01 pm (UTC)
At no time will Hamlet be allowed to impale Claudius with a chandelier.

O_o

Never mind rules for Shakespeare. I'm fairly certain this one would be frowned upon by the laws of physics...
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