The lights dim; the curtain rises and the show begins.
Make sure to be there when it ends with a bouquet of flowers for the star in your life that gave it their all on opening night. While mixed bunches of roses, carnations and lilies are common to give performers at the end of a show, make them feel anything but ordinary with several tall and stately stalks of gladiolus when the curtain comes down. Whether their performance earned them a standing ovation or a few rotten tomatoes, they will know you are proud of them with this show-stealing flower.
Gladiolus are sold as tall stalks with several large, open blooms running up one side of them. Grown from bulb-like structures, they can reach between 2 and 4 feet tall and taper to a gracefully curved tip. The choices of colors are theatrical, with deep burgundy, dazzling oranges and even a shade of green that will make the other members of the cast green with envy. They are readily available all year round and can be found at even the smallest of floral shops and flower buying venues. With thick, sturdy stems, they can last many hours out of water and can handle a bit of jostling as you make your way backstage after the performance.
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The custom of presenting flowers to actors to show appreciation for their performance is an old one, dating back to the days of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, where favored thespians had flowers thrown onto the stage at curtain call. Not surprisingly, there is much superstition and etiquette around the tradition. Generally, it is frowned upon to bring a bouquet in person before a performance as it is seen as bad luck prior to the start of the show, though this rule is relaxed somewhat if flowers are instead delivered to a dressing room. Alternatively, flowers are thought to bring good luck when delivered after the closing curtain. Flowers thrown onto the stage while actors are taking a bow is generally acceptable only in outdoor theaters. The most traditional time to bring flowers to a performance for actors is on opening night when both energy and nerves are high. For directors, the etiquette is to bring flowers on the closing night of a performance when they can finally relax and enjoy them.
Much like good acting, flowers have the ability to convey many emotions without saying a word. In the language of flowers, gladiolus signify strength and preparedness- just what your actor needs when the lights dim and that curtain rises.