@westendproducer could you give advice .If leading lady has severe halitosis & one has intimate kissing scenes & she is producer’s wife dear
— Robert Gray (@robertgray16) September 9, 2016
Acting is hard. It’s even harder if your co-star is smelly. So you must solve the problem as quickly and respectfully as possible.
Begin tactfully – you don’t want to upset anyone, particularly if the halitosis victim is married to the producer. I would suggest you leave a packet of mints on her dressing room table. Hopefully she will pick them up, start sucking, and the problem will be solved.
However she may just simply think someone left them there by mistake – which means you will have to revert to other means. Offer your co-star a chewing gum every morning before rehearsals – just say it will be good for her character. If she takes the bait and thinks the gum is an essential character choice (which it may actually be) her breath will at least be fresh during show hours.
If there is any food consumed on stage then this is the perfect opportunity – lace it with mints and breath sweets. And if there is no food in the show, suggest that there should be – and specifically for the halitosis owner. It may even be a good thing for the play – you’d be surprised at how a bit of dramatic chomping can make bad acting seem really rather good.
Of course, if you have an intimate kissing scene then you yourself must also take responsibility for your own sparkling fresh breath. This sets a precedent, and may make your leading lady follow suit.
Brush your teeth before the show, or after meal breaks during rehearsals – and always in full view of your kissing companion. This will make her see how devoted to oral hygiene you are, and she will hopefully copy. You could even offer her a spare toothbrush and invite her to be part of your brushing routine. Make something up about how Olivier and Jean Simmons used to do this when filming Hamlet.
If all of the above fails it is time for extreme measures. Buy yourself a spray mouth freshener, and at every opportunity when your leading lady opens her mouth take aim and squirt. This fun game will guarantee fresh breath for every piece of dialogue (however be sure to aim correctly, you don’t want to cause blindness by squirting the eyes by mistake, dear).
Finally, if the mints, chewing gum, breath freshener and brushing don’t work – talk to your company manager. They are best qualified to have a chat with your co-star. Halitosis can be a very serious and difficult medical condition – one that is hard to simply bring up in conversation. Maybe the person who has it doesn’t know, and needs to be gently made aware of the fact. It can be very embarrassing and upsetting to discuss, so always consider your co-star’s feelings.
Also, try using it for your own character. If your leading lady has halitosis think how your character would respond – maybe they’d just live with it because they love the person? Or they’d kiss the nose instead of the mouth? Who knows?
Anyhow, good luck with it. And if all else fails, just recast, dear.
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