Not the “ta-dah” kind of spectacles. The kind of spectacles that sit on your nose.
Some people have to wear them to actually see. Some people don’t need them at all.
Then there’s me. I’m mostly farsighted and need my glasses for reading; but I don’t really need them to perform. So whether or not to wear my glasses onstage is a conscious choice.
I generally wear them through the rehearsal process – or at least until I’m off book. But even then, I usually still wear them because when I’m not onstage I’m often doing something that requires my specs – like reading, or writing, or doing some kind of needlework.
Some roles require glasses – I had my prescription put into a pair of wire rims when I played Ben Franklin.
If I need to read something on stage, I need glasses – or I need to memorize what I’m reading and just pretend. At the end of Love Always, Patsy Cline, my character reads a letter from Patsy. I made the choice of not memorizing it. I wanted to actually read it each performance. So glasses were necessary – I had a pair of reading glasses on a table for this purpose. Until the night the glasses slipped down where I couldn’t find them and I had to read the letter without glasses – my arms were just about long enough to do it too. Since the audience was right next to me, I should have asked someone for their glasses or had them hold the damn letter for me – or maybe I should have just memorized the letter so it was in my fat old lady brain just in case. Lessons learned.
The danger of just kind of/sort of needing glasses is that you will put them on backstage and then forget to take them off. I have almost done this many many times, and have actually gone onstage with my glasses once or twice. When I was in Damn Yankees, I had to unload a bag of groceries. I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to take off my glasses until I realized I could read the small print on the oatmeal box I was pulling out of the bag. Shit. Then you have to make the choice of just leaving them on, or taking them off – and then what the hell are you going to do with them? Thank God (TIDBI) for pockets in costumes.
And you know what? Almost never has someone warned me that I had my glasses on. I attribute that to the fact they are so used to seeing me with my glasses on that they don’t notice. Either that or they all hate me.