Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What I have to deal with in the Arts

So, today, we had an unofficial 1st 'read-through' of a play I had not actually committed to, because I wanted to read it first. Most actors blindly accept work without knowing what they're getting in to, because......they want to work. I have done so in the past, and have lucked out, for the most part. Nothing too terribly bad. But this time, I wanted to make an educated choice. Not that I can be that picky, considering I need to get those work weeks to continue qualifying for health insurance, but I'd rather get a root canal than sit through a bad play, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't hideously bad. Which they can be. Believe me.

Unfortunately, the play is a world premiere so it's not like I could find it at Borders or Samuel French (a Drama Book Shop), so the director/artistic director of the theatre promised to FedEx or messenger a script over last week. Well, it never arrived. I don't know if he assumed (yup that nasty word) that just because I had said I would attend the read-through, it implied I was accepting the job, but I went in cold today and, well... let's put it this way, had I read the script last week I probably would have declined. Graciously, of course. But it's too late now to say no, because word gets around about actors who drop out so close to the beginning of rehearsals, which start in a few weeks, so it's going to be quite a ride, in more ways than one.

The cast is great, though a great cast does not a great production make. I've seen amazing actors in plays that made me want to slit my wrists. So I worry. The subject matter is crude in sections, but my part is workable. Thankfully we are work-shopping the play and they are open to suggestions and cuts, so anything I don't like is going to go bye-bye. Too bad I'm so well known in these parts, otherwise I'd consider an alias.

Apart from the script being somewhat questionable, we were sitting around chatting before we started, and suddenly it turned to politics and what actors love best: the inevitable Republican bash-fest. I think they covered everyone and their mother, including the Queen 'mother' gaffe. Personally, I thought it was funny. They were absolutely horrified.

So, there I was listening to them rail against all things Republican, suffering through a load of rubbish until the talk turned to Sarkozy and that was it. The Director is very sweet, but an old lefty, who laughingly and rather proudly told us he considers himself "left" of Lenin so, needless to say, he started on how unhappy he was that Sarkozy had won. Then, suddenly, everyone joined in, blabbing about how terrible it was and how scared they were for France, bla bla bla. After several minutes and unable to bear it any longer, I finally jumped in. As I have mentioned before, I choose my battles carefully, and this one was worth the effort. Surprisingly, they listened and backed off immediately. They actually agreed, for the most part.

I think what I hate most, is the blanket statements liberals make about conservatives, both American and foreign. Without thinking, they rush to judgement without giving someone a chance to prove themselves. Because Sarkozy is a conservative and is pro-U.S., they immediately jumped to the conclusion that he would become Bush's push-over. I reminded them that Bush was out in 2008, and that Sarkozy has emphatically stated he will not be anybody's poodle. A fact they had conveniently forgotten. I remember having a similar conversation about Schwarzenegger (when he first won the California governorship) with a group of actors and designers, whilst doing a show out of town. I told them they needed to give the man a chance. That he was an amazing business man, because it certainly wasn't his acting abilities that garnered him such success, and that he would probably use that business acumen to straighten out the problems California was having at the time. And he's done a far better job than his predecessor. Plus he won re-election so he must be doing something right. Though I know most here wouldn't consider him a true conservative.

So, this is what I have to look forward to, for 8 weeks. Wish me luck!!


Paula said...

Great to see you are busy, even at work, and interesting to see that 'they agreed for the most part'. Am wondering where I would stand on tis, as I am (UK terming), liberal minded here but Sarkozy....You gotta love him!
Ohhh the confusion. ;-)

MUD said...

I wish there was some way I could convince you that those of us not in the arts also have had to do things we didn't want to do. I have been the "Big Bunny" for the Governor's Easter Egg hunt. I had to provide the security for the Governor's second wife as they planned the most absurd inaugural ever. The worst was a journey into Total Quality Management (TQM) that I could tell sucked from the get go. Oh well, good luck. MUD

Pat Jenkins said...

your Daniel in the lions den work may just turn a few away from the dark side. where did you happen to study for your acting craft or are we a natural born talent? good luck with the show!!

MUD said...

I think if you aren't born full of it you can't act. You can get better through doing it but study to be an actor? If you were to go to any Military Academy you can spot the naturals and they just don't let what others think bother them. I am a teacher at heart not an actor but that same ability is there in both. MUD

WomanHonorThyself said...

good luck hun..break a leg!..but dont expect the libs to hear any Truths..theyre allergic and blinded by anti semitism and anti Americanism!..Heh

Pat Jenkins said...

mud i could not agree more with the idea of all being innately given a talents or gifts, i was jsut wondering if she may have taken it up without any formal training.

Papa J said...

What good is the insurance if you have to slit your wrists?

There is going to be an atheist vs. believer debate about God on NBC tonight. That should give you some non politcal fodder to turn to when conversation turns too far to the left.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

I've found through the years that the majority of people are lemmings. Frequently when someone stands up for what they believe and articulates their position in a reasoned, non-beligerent manner, the lemmings will either be silent, or follow. It also gives opportunity for reasonable people to possibly reevaluate their position. You are wise in choosing your battles carefully. Your profession gives you tools for presenting your ideas that many of us who are a little more in-you-face with our reactions do not have. Thank you again for your thoughtful posts. I always enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

Good for You!

Incognito said...

dang.. I posted a reply earlier to some of the comments and it's not here... soooo.. will have to start from scratch.

PAULABXX: Thanks so much! It's not much money, but anything is good. I guess. And people don't have to always see eye to eye. As long as they can find some common ground. :-)

MUD: Bunny Suit? Good to know we're not the only fools who will do anything for a buck. well, within reason. I was a blueberry once! The indignity of it all.

PAT J: Am hoping I can be of some service, in a way. EVen if I can get through to one person. I don't expect to change minds but enlighten some. That would be nice.
Actually I got a B.A. in Theatre Arts, Cum Laude, for all that's worth. But there are those who have not been schooled and get by on natural talent.

MUD: You saying I'm full of it?
;-) I actually benefited from my schooling because I learned much more than just acting technique. It's held me in g ood stead. And good teachers are natural born actors!

WOMAN HT. Thank you! I don't expect, but I can hope. You just never know... ;-)

PAPAJ: Guess I wouldn't.. but was thinking more in terms of being responsible for my audience slitting theirs. as I have wanted to. And thanks for the heads up on the debate, which I promptly forgot about! I'm sure I can catch it on line.

PANHANDLE: Thank you! Indeed, I have found that usually they have no retort. Actors have a tendencey to just tow the line, without thinking. As you say 'lemmings'. I feel like you all have become family!

Thank you ODP and thanks to all for their good wishes. Am going to need them! :-)

Unknown said...

Yup lemmings, they do not think, they do not analyse, just regurgitate false "truths", it is knee jerk nd automatic and among a few likely a defensive measure.

Incognito said...

Thank God, I don't have to deal with them day in day. Just when I'm doing a show!