|While you're ahead
||[Aug. 22nd, 2005|02:47 pm]
SCGSAH Drama Department
I got this in an email...|
"WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE TO BECOME ACTORS?"
I've asked several people this question over the years. They fib.
But here are some of the replies, followed by my own observations.
1. "I thought it would be fun."
Fun? Let's see. Work all day, beg for time off to run out and
sign up for an open call. Or instead, get up at six AM and stand in
a line outside the Equity building in every kind of weather.
Fun? Tech and dress night that goes on until one AM. A long
subway trip home. Up at seven to be to work at eight. In the
theatre at seven. Curtain at eight. Hours and hours and hours of
rehearsal. There are twelve people in the opening night audience.
Fun? Four months of open calls nearly every day and not one
callback. The air is heavy with depression, rejection, doubt,
loneliness. Suddenly a small house and a family in Nebraska sound
Fun? After an audition, being told by the director you are
better than the "star name" they cast, but golly gee you know the
business! Gotta fill those seats! Subtext: You're a nobody. "How
dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog." This is one mini
example why I've pushed for actors to read poetry. Nobody sums up
being a nobody better than Emily Dickinson.
Fun? You have the female lead in a 35 minute short film,
opposite a huge name actor who won't even speak to you because you
are not also a "name." ["I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody,
Fun? Five years later you still have the scar on your arm from
the nail some indifferent carpenter did not hammer in properly and
you, rushing off stage, slashed your arm on it. Then the wardrobe
mistress blasts loose language you never heard even in triple XXX
rated because you got blood on the costume. Excuse me!
Endless examples. If you're in it for "fun," go dance on the rim of
Etna or Vesuvius when they next sizzle. Now that's fun!
Reason # 2 "I thought I'd give it a try."
Don't bother. Fire eating would be easier. Try it.
Reason # 3. "I was in a play in high school and it is a good
Don't ruin a perfectly lovely memory by going professional.
Reason # 4. "I just have to. It's like breathing. It's something I
have to do."
Oops. Hope he's talented. His answer is impeccable.