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Go Up On Your Lines

Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Slava » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:36 pm

Also known as go up in your lines. It means to forget one's lines in acting, especially on stage. Can anyone find out its origins? It may be as simple as "directional," meaning that we usually look up when lost in such a manner. When and where it started, I have not found as yet.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:37 pm

Never heard it in ten years in hs, college, and seminary theater. "Dry up," or "dried" was common. Often an actor would just point to the prompter in dress rehearsal for the cue. Bound to be some other theater people out there. Have you heard it? Maybe it's regional.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:38 am

I am no thespian so the phrase has never come my way. It sounds okay though. "Break a leg," is one of the dumb things actors say.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:42 pm

"Break a leg" developed from the superstition that it was bad luck to wish a performer good luck! So the reverse should also hold true? No? Ergo, "break a leg" somehow arose to mean "I wish you a great performance!" Huh?
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:44 pm

I knew that Perry. "Break a leg" is still dumb.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby gailr » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:20 pm

There are superstitious practices in any group that help bond the members in a common experience, regardless of relevance outside the group.

Other examples: athletes or fans who wear 'lucky' (e.g.: unwashed!) garments to continue a winning streak; nurses who won't mention the fly on the ward, tie knot in the corner of a dying patient's sheet, or absolutely never speak the word 'quiet'; realtors who advise even non-Catholic clients on the 'St. Joseph ritual' to sell a house.

It looks silly from the outside; yet superstitions 'work' if and when adherents feel more confident because of observing the group's ritual, and perform better because of that confidence.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:55 am

The earliest uses of the phrase "go up on [one's] lines" are
"If I varied from Bonforte's earlier speech then I simple went up on my lines" A Heinline Trio 1957
In an interview with James Stewart by Janet Maslin in the New York Times dated Oct. 9, 1983, Mr. Stewart said, in connection with the filming of "Rope," " . . . don't let me go up on my lines now!"
But neither source provides any explanation as to why this expression means what it does to actors.
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Re: Go Up On Your Lines

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:11 pm

Someone trying to remember something often looks up, if often only with his eyes. Perhaps that's it?
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