Are actors on a Toronto stage allowed to puff on a cigarette if the script calls for it?
Are actors on a Toronto stage allowed to puff on a cigarette if the script calls for it?—Mark Mietkiewicz, Thornhill
Alas, artistic licence is no match for the law of the land: smoking onstage because it’s in the script is no more legal than killing someone onstage for the same reason. (And imagine the temptation for last-minute rewrites if that weren’t the case.) Before the ban, it was up to the director and the actors in any given production to decide if they wished to allow the demon weed onstage. But now that smoking in most public places has been illegal in Toronto since 1999, what to do when a script calls for an actor to light up? Some just mime it. Others smoke herbal cigarettes; they might be just as foul as the real thing, but they’re entirely legal. When a show calls for dope smoking (Hair springs to mind), the same trick goes. With rolling papers and a stand-in—cloves, incense, oregano—characters can toke away. The buzz, however, will definitely require some acting.