You’re not always a star. When you are, your private dressing room is your castle…you are the queen of your domain and most anything goes…including sex. But when you have to share with numerous lassies…
#1 Don’t have sex in the communal dressing room. Not even with yourself.
#2 Like Vegas, what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. I think there should be a secret handshake of confidentiality (perhaps involving some blood) to seal the deal. It can be a confessional, group therapy and a 12-step program (“Hello, my name is Myrtle and I’m an actor.”) all rolled into one ginormous neurotic cosmos. It should all stay in there.
#3 That being said, try to leave some of your troubles at home. I don’t always want to hear the dirty details. We’re colleagues. We may be friends but that’s not a given. And don’t ask me about my troubles. Don’t ask me how my mother is after the show goes up when you know damn well she’s had a stroke and lost twenty pounds. It’s especially rude of you when I have to go on and make people laugh. Because what you may not know is that I just learned my mother had another stroke, has lost her power of speech again and I would rather open my wrists in a warm bath than talk about it.
#4 That question being asked, please don’t be offended when I respond, “I don’t want to talk about it” and flee for my life.
#5 Entire conversations held in hushed tones with heads ducked? Rude. Take it onstage where it belongs.
#6 Don’t smirk about a comment your dressing roommate has made believing she can’t see you. THERE ARE MIRRORS, PEOPLE! I don’t think you want to hear me (or anyone) say, “Do you care to repeat that to my face?” Or do you? Hmmmmm.
#7 If someone says to you, “Have a good show!” as they leave for their entrance, don’t ignore them. Definitely don’t smirk. Because when they reach deck they mutter the “C” word under their breath…and they mean you.
#8 Cameras in the dressing room? Tricky. THERE ARE MIRRORS, PEOPLE! And inevitably someone is reflected buck naked strapping on some tights. Ask DLC.
#8 Try not to use the dressing room toilet to drop the kids off at the pool. If it’s the only one, go ahead but bring matches…and air-fresheners…and a sheepish grin. I, personally, have perfected the sheepish grin. So I’ve got a nervous stomach. Sue me.
#9 Do not ask your colleagues if they are interested in watching you model the bikinis you just bought for your romantic vacay with your married lover. They’re probably not interested. They may throw shit at you.
#10 Technology is great. but if you’re going to play on your computer or your game boy or your iPhone or other fancy-shmancy gadget, bring earbuds or turn the sound off completely. Since I’m sitting three feet away and can’t see the particular YouTube video with cute fuzzy animals you’re cackling over, I sure as shit don’t want to listen to it.
#11 Phone on silent please. If it rings I will answer it . Ask Betty Buckley. Vibrate isn’t good enough…unless you want me to do something kinky with it (and that’s the one instance where rule #1 doesn’t apply).
#12 Phone conversations during a show? COME ON. Be ecstatic you’re working. Be involved in the experience. Do you really need to learn that your grandmother died in the middle of a show? I think it can wait twenty minutes, don’t you? She is dead after all.
#13 Singing after half hour will get you slapped every which way to Sunday. Warm up at home or somewhere else in the theater before half hour. We all know you’re talented—shut the fuck up. And coming from the girl with cords of steel…if you’ve done all that and STILL need to warm up after half hour, yous got a problem with your technique. Take some lessons.
#14 No one else wants to hear how well your career is going. We’re all jealous. Okay…maybe not always. Maybe mention it once so we can congratulate you through gritted grins and then drop it. Don’t worry. The good things are still happening to you and you are still the center of your universe. You’re just not the center of our respective universes.
#15 Try to keep your stuff in your designated area and not spill over into other people’s space. It’s especially helpful during quick changes since some people (me) are Porky Pig and have a hard enough time finding the necklace that goes with the earrings that go with the bracelet…that is always at large.
#16 Try not to complain about your scene partner to everyone. There’s something truly unsightly about that. Yes, I know once I kept score on my mirror how many times my scene partner got the show right, but eight of the nine other women in the room had no idea what those dastardly hash marks were about.
#17 Cleanliness is next to godliness.
#18 No perfume please.
#19 Discussing reviews is uncool. There is always someone who chooses not to read them. Be respectful.
#20 You’re never fully dressed without a smile.
Follow most of these rules and most anyone will love to share a dressing room with you. And that makes for a happy carny trash family.