Every actor worth their salt has been backstage when one of those urgent backstage moments happen. A rip in a costume two seconds before the curtain goes up, the lead has gotten sick, someone forgets the bobby pins — you know what we say; the show must go on! Don’t panic. Here’s how to be prepared for those emergencies that might pop up.
These are things every actor (in my opinion) should have in either their show bag or their make up case (every single actor needs to have a make up case, man or woman).
First off, a full supply of anything you’d need for any last second snafus. Bobby pins, hairspray (even in a little travel can), make up remover, duct tape (trust me, you’ll understand when your costume rips!), safety pins, and of course your make up and applicators for the show.
A full supply of water bottles (room temperature if you’re singing, and cold if it’s a straight play), and some type of headache relief (Advil, Tylenol..a good wall to bang your head against!) always come in handy backstage as well. Remember once the show starts, you’re not allowed to leave!
You should always have a script backstage as well for a reference point. If a show is up you should absolutely know your lines, but if someone onstage skips, and you need to catch up a script is always good to have.
Snacks! Snacks are important to backstage survival. Nothing messy like Doritos. Things like fruit are always best, especially ones that don’t drip (save the watermelons for the summer picnics.) Personally, I like to have five dollars in singles on me at all times in my make up case. Why? You never know if there might be a vending machine somewhere in the depths of the theater that can be a lifesaver if you forget to bring snacks of your own!
And finally you should have an I-pod or music of some kind. No, not to listen to during the show — you’re supposed to be paying attention! But, before the show, while everyone is getting ready, you can choose to listen to music and get into a groove before the show starts.
These are just a few suggestions and everyone has their own taste! What are your backstage essentials?