Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quick-Change Turrets

Yesterday I was reminded of a condition that I like to call Quick Change Turrets. No one I am working with right now has QCT. But I was reminded of the condition during a conversation yesterday and I thought it would make a good blog post.
Quick Change Turrets is when an actor comes off stage for a quick change and begins swearing. It should be noted that they aren't actually swearing at their dresser but just swearing in the stress of having to change a suit or dress in 30 seconds.
The pressure of changing an entire costume in 30 seconds causes this. They worry they will not make an entrance or that if they make the entrance it will be without some essential item like pants. So they begin a string of swear words that would make a sailor proud.
Not every actor is prone to QCT. Some actors use quick change time to worry about if the audience loves them or not. Some talk about other outside of work things. During a quick change the perfect actor will not try to "help". "Helping" can be defined as anything other than standing still and allowing other people to dress them. Perfect actors will stand still and resist the urge to help button or zip things. They will not reach for their shoes while you are trying to zip a bodice.
A wardrobe girl or quick change artist must have a tough skin. Sometimes we have to remember that an actor is not swearing at us but at the change or the suit or the fact that the playwright only gave them 30 seconds to change a costume.
It is important to remember that in two weeks the change will be so smooth and fast it will feel like you have tons of time. You and your actor will be joking about drinking cocktails or smoking cigarettes during the change because that is how much time they have. Quick Change Turrets will be a distant but funny memory.

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