There has been a Michael Travis in nearly every play since The Puzzle People. Michael Travis is the name of the main character in the Lindsay Anderson film, O Lucky Man! and is Broderick Miller’s pseudonym when writing screenplays of dubious quality.
“WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO SING, SALUTE YOU”
The entire cast ritualistically addresses the band before each performance with this respectful salutation. This began with The Community Producers.
“YOU OWE ME A DOLLAR!”
When the director was new to the theatre group, and fearful of forgetting names, he used to give kids a quarter whenever he would confuse or blank on their names. Nowadays, he gives them a dollar (adjusted for inflation).
Every time someone sneezes, it is ritualistic to respond “Bless you…Tzara.” This came out of rehearsal for The Window in which Tzara Sidley was cast as a docent conducting a tour of an art gallery. During a rehearsal, someone sneezed and Tzara was given the direction to say “bless you” in case that ever happened live on stage – and other spontaneous niceties – because it would be perfectly natural for her character to do so. From then on, whenever someone in rehearsal sneezed, Broderick would say “Bless you,” and then wheel around and say “Tzara?” expecting her to say “Bless you.” She was oblivious 99% of the time and it became a standing joke.
THE GOLD COINS
Frank Miller was possibly the most generous man to ever walk the planet. He literally would put a handful of gold dollar coins in his pocket every morning and give them to random people throughout the day. This was his way of spreading cheer and goodwill – and trying to make the world just that much better of a place. Frank Miller died on May 13th, 2004, the day of dress rehearsal for Attack of the Killer Kids. The following day, Broderick gave a golden coin to each young actor to honor his dad’s memory and generosity. Ever since, the gold coins are passed to each actor before the final performance of that year’s spring play.
THE SCTG SLAP
Someone usually gets slapped in our plays. Jamus Hain earned SCTG immortality for being a frequent victim of our stage slaps. True to our tradition, Havana actually features lots of slapping. Please don’t invite social services to our shows.
Listen carefully: every play one character will say the line “stay awake!” as a nod to our very first SCTG production Stay Awake!
When someone makes an excellent suggestion or observation to help the play, the director marks it with a finger in the air. Justine Minette owned this. Havana’s big winner this season was Niall Murphy.
THAT ANNOYING ORPHAN PLAY
There is frequently a reference to the play Annie in our shows, and it’s never respectful.
THE KEVIN HUNT MOMENT
Kevin Hunt was a stage hand for the Assistance League Playhouse while we were presenting Attack of the Killer Kids and soon became a friend and brother to many of us in the SCTG. We gave Kevin Hunt a bit in Buy America, where he signaled the passing of time by walking across the stage and tore pages off a calendar with attitude. It was such a hit, that gave Kevin a walk-on cameo in ever play we could He has been most recently seen as a jet plane in The Rogues; a bum in My Man Godfrey; and a heavenly stage hand in The Nature of My Game. Kevin moved to Missouri last year, but he is not forgotten or any less loved.
HALFTIME INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH
Just before intermission ends, the director gives an impassioned speech to inspire the cast for the second act. It always ends with:
DIRECTOR: Okay, it’s intermission – what has the audience been doing?
DIRECTOR: What do we do?
CAST: Wake them up!
FAVORITE EXCUSES FOR NOT KNOWING LINES
“I memorized my lines, Brod – I just don’t know where they go.” (Nick Angelo)
“It was a dramatic pause.” (Molly McCracken’s explanation when forgetting dialogue.)
OFTEN HEARD AT REHEARSAL
“This is the best play we have ever done!”
“This scene has officially died.”
“As the applause ebbs…”
“Projection! Energy! Truth!”
“Find the truth”
“Passion, for god’s sake!”
“No joke is too cheap. Except one…”
“You live in darkness.”
“We are now firing on all cylinders.”
“What is the scene about?…Okay, but what is it really about?”
“This is a popcorn moment.”
“Who do we do this for? Each other!”