Sometimes you accidentally hit a nerve with something you say. By accidentally I don’t mean that it isn’t intentional, I hope to hit a nerve with everything I write, but rather accidentally because you can never predict how something will resonate in someone else’s ears.
An acquaintance wrote to me regarding my post that addressed the On The Town revival’s questionable choice to ask actors to costume their auditions. We had a discussion pertaining to why or why not things may have happened as they did and arrived very firmly at a stalemate. We just didn’t see eye to eye. Our ideologies were simply opposite. The following statement was what flipped off the switch on my powers of objective discourse…
“We can choose to be pissed off about the situation and negative about it, or see the bright side. These producers aren’t going to change and we can’t make them, so might as well endure their fun and games and laugh about it later.”
I just can’t get on board with this line of thought. I completely understand that by the nature of the business actors are at a disadvantage. He who controls the money, controls the world. I am not so naïve as to deny the benefits of playing the game by someone else’s rules but I cannot do it. I believe too completely in the value of actors. Lately it seems that there is a philosophy that actors should be grateful for the opportunity to perform. I absolutely believe in gratitude for the fact that there are new shows creating new jobs. I do NOT believe that this gratitude involves jumping through hoops to acquire said jobs. I believe that what you bring into the room is enough. Your talent, preparation, years of training, willing attitude, and collaborative spirit are enough. You are enough.
I am well aware that I am being an idealist in a profession of opportunists, but I sincerely believe in the greater good. Maybe it’s the fresh California air in this New Yorker’s lungs but now more than ever I am seeing the power of the collective. Of rallying behind a common cause. Of looking toward the future and not just surviving through the day. Are actors losing ground and losing rights? Has it always been like this? Are we really going to continue playing entirely by someone else’s rules?
What do YOU believe in?