Like I said in my post "about last night" I have never been more terrified to go onstage, because I knew, that the actor I was working with had no idea about his lines. It's the most horrible thing in the world to not trust the ability of the actors you are working with. And that was what terrified me, I knew I could not trust him.
I knew my lines but he didn't know his and soI knew that I would have to carry the scene. The main thing to do in this situation is to stay calm! To try and calm yourself completely before going on stage.
And the most important rule: STAY IN CHARACTER!
whatever you do or say onstage, don't break character! commit to everything you do! Don't half heartily do something, do it, with conviction! If you know your lines and your movements and your partner does not then you take the lead in the scene. I hinted at him what to do, in character and he didn't do it!
This is where improv comes in handy, NEVER SAY NO! If I know my lines and I even know your lines, then when I hint at you to do something or if I say, "aren't you happy to see me?" say yes!! Never say no when you're in such a mess that it's improv! And If I hint to you in character to call someone on the phone, Don't go over to the phone and ask me why i've said that or what good will that do! I just gave you a clue to what you are supposed to do!
Now, fair enough, not knowing your lines then you probably wouldn't know what to say when you get to the telephone or who to call, but that is something I've said in another post, know what your goal is in the scene!! What are the main actions and what is your character trying to get across? If you know that then when I hint for you to use the telephone it'll click in your mind that you're supposed to ring such and such a character.. even if you didn't know what to say you could improvise.
The main thing is this post is firstly, learn your lines, and secondly, trust your partner!
Also a couple of things to note:
If you know your lines and you've made a mistake and jumped a few lines, then just carry on, you and your partner should just carry on! and then when you get offstage, forget about it! Forget the mistake you made and leave it in the past or it'll ruin your entire performance!
And secondly, Don't ever jump back!!! If your partner has skipped a page of dialogue, unless that dialogue was absolutely imperative to the main storyline, then you never jump back! just keep going! just continue until the end of the scene! when you jump back to something completely pointless then it'll put you and your partner off and when you come back up to the phrase you jumped ahead to then your thought process is lost and then queue the awkward teeth pulling silence.
Don't corpse on stage when you or another character says something funny. there is nothing worse than an actor who is hilarious but then laughs or smiles at their own lines or actions on stage. It doesn't look right at all. If your line is said in a deadpan way then your face should remain neutral while the audience laughs their head off! keep your face steady! If you know the line/ action will get a laugh then practice it so many times that you really don't find it funny anymore. Because when you corpse on stage, it makes you and your partners loose character, which if you'll notice above is the most important rule in this post!!!.. and consequently in the theatre!! don't ever break character.
So that's my little rant and points about messing up on stage. But honestly all I can say is, that it is shameful to go on the first night of performance, and in fact all nights of performance and not know your lines. If you're an actor your first requirement is to know your lines. Know your lines and know your goal/aim in the scene.
Thanks for reading!