Theatre Tongue Twisters- A Pre-Performance Chant


“Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, we’ll be together whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.”


NW is a USC senior who went to high school in San Diego. She was a member of her high school’s theater production. Before going on stage, the cast would perform this tongue twister as a “little good luck thing” to do together. To NW, it gave “the same energy as a huddle… I don’t think it was an actual good tongue twister. It was just for fun.” It was a dynamic performance; they would start off in a whisper and spread out, then would grow louder and clump together. It was a “little button” to boost the cast morale amidst skyrocketing nerves.


Especially in the theatre community, tongue twisters can be practical exercises that enable performers to practice their diction and pronunciation, which is crucial for storytelling and communicating a message to the audience from the stage. Beyond its functional implications, this tongue twister has become ritualized in NW’s community. The pre-show routine has been extremely important in boosting the morale of the group and calming down their nerves. Specifically with live performances, there can be a lot of angst and fear of things going wrong; having a stable, consistent routine, such as the recitation of a tongue twister, can bolster focus and channel calmer energy. NW mentions that the tongue twister wasn’t even a “good” tongue twister, but it doesn’t change because it’s familiar and effective. Unlike proverbs, tongue twisters often don’t make sense or mean anything in particular, but they are performed out of habit and custom. It’s not necessarily about the content–it’s more about the setting and the people you are sharing this folklore with, which applies to the general essence of occupational folklore. The cast is no longer related just because they’re in the same show, but also because they embrace the customs that come with being a member. There’s no rule dictating what they do before their performance, but the tongue twister has become a tradition that is almost second nature.