Friday, May 27, 2011

The Theatrical Code of Ethics and Figure Skating

In case you're just joining us, I have a deep theatre background. I did a travelling animal show when I was in my early teens, I was a Thespian in High School (including some acting), and I did Stage Management out of College and some Special Event Production. I still work in the business, but I don't do shows as much since that's real hard with a kid around. (Rehearsals until 12am and such.)

My approach to Skating has mirrored my theatre experience. From my vantage point, there's not much difference, just more athleticism involved. During Ice Shows, I tend to get some funny looks since I'm at every rehearsal, every show, from start to finish, no exceptions. Some Other Parents find me freakish for always being early for lessons and practices, and never missing a Group Class. Ever. I have discovered that I am a weird anomaly. Let me explain.

In theatre, we have an unwritten code of ethics. Well, someone did write it down in 1924, but for the most part actors, performers and stage folk operate by these rules. Let's go down the list, trading out theatre references for skating, and imagine the Skating Utopia that would happen if everyone followed these same unwritten rules.

Theatrical Code of Ethics

1. I shall never miss a performance Practice, Competition, or Ice Show.
2. I shall play Skate every performance Program with energy, enthusiasm and to the best of my ability regardless of audience size, personal illness, bad weather, accident or even death in the family. (Yes, you read that right.)
3. I shall forgo all social activities which interfere with rehearsals Lessons or any other scheduled work Practices at the theatre Rink, and I shall always be on time. (You read that right, too.)
4. I shall never make a curtain Competition, Ice Show or Practice late by my failure to be ready on time.
5. I shall never miss an entrance a Warm up or Start Time.
6. I shall never leave the theatre Ice Rink or the stage ice area until I have completed my performance Program or Practice, unless I am specifically excused by the stage manager Coach. Curtain Calls are a part of the Ice Show.
7. I shall not let the comments of friends, relatives or critics change any phase of my work Skating without proper consultation. I shall not change lines, business, lights, properties, settings or costumes or any phase of the production program without consultation with and permission of my director or producer Coach or their agents, and I shall inform all people concerned.
8. I shall forgo the gratification of my ego for the demands of the play Program.
9. I shall remember my business is to create illusion; therefore I shall not break the illusion by appearing in costume and makeup off stage ice or outside the theatre Rink.
10. I shall accept my director's and my producer's Coach's advice and counsel in the spirit in which it is given, for they can see the production Program as a whole and my work Skating from the front.
11. I shall never "put on an act" while viewing other artists' Skater's work as a member of an audience, nor shall I make caustic criticism from jealousy or for the sake of being smart.
12. I shall respect the play and the playwright Program and Ice Show, remembering that "a work of art is not a work of art until it is finished," I shall not condemn a play Program while it is in rehearsal Practice.
13. I shall not spread rumor or gossip which is malicious and tends to reflect discredit on my show skating, the theatre Rink, or any personnel connected with them, either to people inside or outside the group.
14. Since I respect the theatre Rink in which I work Skate, I shall do my best to keep it looking clean, orderly and attractive regardless of whether I am specifically assigned to do such work or not.
15. I shall handle stage Rink properties and costumes with care for I know they are part of the tools of my trade and are a vital part of the physical production.
16. I shall follow the rules of courtesy, deportment and common decency applicable in all walks of life when I am in the theatre Rink, and I shall observe the rules and regulations of any specific theatre Rink where I work Skate.
17. I shall never lose my enthusiasm for theatre Skating because of disappointments.

Did any of that make your head spin? Good. Now know that I am not the weirdo you think I am, I'm just doing what is normal.


  1. Its supprising as I grew up in threatre from a young age I just followed the rules not because I knew them but I copied the older actors and saw the respect they gave everyone.
    When I started with skating as an adult I followed this because it is so intwined with how I am and grew up.

  2. Good for you! Yes, we just see what the Elders do and copy them. Unfortunately at Home Rink, there doesn't seem to be many great examples to follow...