Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Art of the Curtain Speech

At Rorschach Theatre, one never knows when one might be called upon to deliver the evening's cold opening to the entertainment, the curtain speech. As a veteran of numerous failed attempts myself, I can assure you that the duty is significant and the stakes are impossibly high. Failure on this level could mean that the entire evening is ruined amid a flurry of flash photography, frequent performances of some idiot's "Laffy Taffy" ringtone, and the miserable failure of no one signing up on Rorschach's critical mailing list--which, let's face it, is the backbone of our whole operation.

It is, indeed, a daunting task, but it is an absolutely necessary one. Whether you are speaking to the hordes that are descending upon The Arabian Night or one of the five people in Christendom who saw JB, the job is the same and can afford no slackening of intensity on your part. To that end, we are happy to provide you with the necessary tips to make your curtain speaking venture a glorious one.


  • If at all possible, be Karl Miller.
  • It is totally appropriate to threaten cell-phone scofflaws with some degree of bodily harm. But be prepared to back it up.
  • Don't forget to thank the funders whenever possible. They are not just important backers of our artistic endeavors--they are also our primary source of bail money.
  • Hey, those Nutter Butters aren't going to sell themselves. They are inanimate objects! Push them during the curtain speech! Move units!
  • It's always okay to make fun of patrons' outmoded technology, such as pagers, as long as you never criticize the patrons who arrive riding those old-timey bicycles. Those people are violent.
  • Let's face it, some topics are out of bounds--nipples, Satanism, your new piercing, the latest entry on Grady's blog, etc. Save that sh*t for the post-show reception.
  • Seriously, even if that evening's show is titled My New Satanic Nipple Piercing by Grady Weatherford, don't mention it. Just tell the audience they are about to see My Fair Lady or some sh*t like that and let God sort it out.
  • If you discover that you cannot settle your nerves before the curtain speech without popping a Vicodin, you might have a problem. Ask yourself the following soul-searching question: Did I bring enough for Jason to have one?
  • Take the opportunity to mention the season subscription offering. But remember that Randy gets mad if you do too much haggling over the price. This isn't some Armenian fish market, after all.
  • While Jordan Suderman is, indeed, "adorable," he is not, as many believe, "for sale." Still, it won't hurt to listen to one or two offers.
  • The audience's safety is paramount, so remind them that "the action happens very close to their seats," the actors are "one step removed from the sort of person that runs auto repair scams in the parking lot of Harris Teeter," and, if it's one of Jenny's shows, that the set is "deadly effing dangerous" and not to "touch, walk on, or taunt" it.
  • Remember, just because the Catholic Church has banned the selling of indulgences doesn't mean we can't do so. As a curtain speaker, you should work to open those new revenue streams.
  • Most importantly: your surreal joke with Scott McCormick probably isn't going to work. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't do it anyway.
  • Above all, remember this: by the time you deliver your curtain speech, we will have safely secured the audience's money. So, let the fur fly where it will.
So there you have it. If you follow these tips you are virtually assured that your curtain speech will be no mere dispensation of dry fact. But, if you cannot remember anything else I've told you, remember this: DO NOT FORGET TO MENTION THE MAILING LIST! Seriously. That list is the closest thing Rorschach has to a 401K.

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