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What do you say to a friend who has given a terrible performance?

Six actors tell Back Stage how they deal with a buddy's performance bombs:

"I usually don't say anything unless he or she brings the subject up. Then I try to be encouraBrandondespain_2ging and reassure him or her that all of us have those days and we just have to learn from them ... . If we don't feel something, we just have to deliver from the memory of our previous performances, rehearsals, or whatever works for each of us." 

-- Brandon deSpain
New York

Nancysale_3 "I say, 'It looks like everyone was having a great time.' "

-- Nancy Sale
San Francisco

"Whenever I meet someone who's an artist, I'm deathly afraid they're bad at it and they'll sharDalilaalirajahe their work with me…. If the piece was just terrible, I try to find at least one moment that was good, even if it's just to say, 'I respect the courage it took for you to get up and put yourself out there.' I won't lie though. If they ask me directly about their performance, I will try and give them the ways I think it could improve, explain what was missing for me -- something constructive."

-- Dalila Ali Rajah
Los Angeles

Nicholassantasie_2 "Most of my friends like criticism. We all learned in classes that we hate to get the response 'good job.' Any criticism helps to build character. I would try to use tact and not just say, 'Wow, that sucked.' Instead I would try to find something positive to emphasize their effort and discuss what didn't work and why."

-- Nicholas Santasier
New York

"You lie. You say something like, 'Nice work. I love to watch you work.' Then if you go for drinks afterwards and they ask you, 'No, really, what did you think?' you can diplomatically give them suggestions if you have any. They will notice if you say good things about the play or other people but not them. That doesn't really get you a free pass."

-- Robert Aberdeen
New York

"I say, 'There's nothing you can do about it now, but you know what you need to do. If you want to work through some scenes later, I'm here.' "

-- Chris Boykin

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