You know that dream people have about being in a classroom or business meeting and realizing they are naked?
Actors have that dream – only they are onstage.
When you are doing a show, your thoughts are tied up with so many things – lines, lyrics, music, blocking, sets …
And of course your costume(s) and prop(s).
I have found it is much easier to make a list of each costume (including all the accessories) and props for each scene.
If it’s written down, you don’t have to save a place in your busy (overloaded) brain for those details.
And if it’s written down, there is less chance that you will find yourself onstage in the wrong costume, lacking some accessory, or without a necessary prop – or showing up late for your entrance because you wasted time trying to figure out what you needed.
Also, if someone is helping you with a quick change, this helps that person know what to have ready.
As all good theater folks also know, precheck is essential.
While there may be a prop master or someone else in charge of props, it is your ass that will be out onstage without a prop if it isn’t where it should be.
Therefore, whenever possible, it is your job to make sure all of your props are preset where they should be.
Something may go wrong with getting that prop onstage (if you, yourself cannot place it) – and let’s face it, it’s live theater, so something always goes wrong – but at least you’ll know you did everything you could to make sure things go smoothly.
And don’t tuck your little list away in your purse – post it somewhere you can see it easily.
Theater is fun but it is hard work – and there is no reason to make it any harder than it already is.
(And I don’t want to discuss what I had to look at just trying to find an image to go with this – I need to go scrub my eyes out with some lye soap – gack.)