In a staggering report released yesterday by the University of Michigan Department of Sociology, every single actor and actress in the nation sits in front of a mirror before every single performance, looks themselves straight in the face and reassures themselves that it is indeed “show time.”
The pre-show ritual, which is practiced systematically and unquestioningly by every single stage performer in the country, takes place in the backstage dressing room, in front of a mirror outfitted with light bulbs around the border just after a makeup artist finishes powdering their nose. The study found that usually an assistant or stage hand donning a headset and clipboard comes to the door and reminds them that the show, “starts in three,” queuing the stage actor to either wiggle their bow tie or wink at themselves before saying, “show time,” to their reflection.
“This phenomenon is echoed by every single actor and actress that participated in the study,” explained sociologist Mark Davidson. “Regardless of whether they’re featured in large-scale productions on Broadway or the Vegas Strip, or in minor theater outlets like public high schools or local theaters, they all do it.”
Davidson told reporters that the study also confirmed that regardless of whether they choose to wink, snap and point to their reflection, or do a line of blow first, the demonstration was always followed by a sigh of relief and the words, “show time.”
“It’s astounding to think that when you sit down to watch Les Mis, the entire cast is backstage in their respective dressing rooms putting on the finishing touches of makeup and saying ‘show time’ to themselves before taking the stage,” Davidson described to reporters. “Really, anyone who is about to go in front of a large audience does it.”
Davidson added that a study conducted on directors who tell their lead actress to “break a leg” on opening night yielded similar findings.