A few posts ago, I made reference to not being on stage in awhile. Until recently, I was an actor. I didn’t make my living doing it but I still performed pretty regularly. I can say that I did, in fact, get paid to do it her and there. Unfortunately, the last time I was able to act in any capacity was over two years ago. Not too long ago, I realized that I started considering myself a “former” actor. Between work taking up a lot of time and my wanting to spend the free time with my wife and kids, there was just no time to commit to auditions and rehearsals. Simple as that. Do I miss it? Yes. Do I miss ALL of it? No.
I will explain. Like a lot of people, I started acting when I was a little kid and taking it seriously when I was a teenager. I have worked with a lot of different people. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of classic theatre, new works, comedies, dramas, musicals, and some theater that was just plain weird. I’ve been in stuff I am still very proud of and productions that were a complete piece of crap.
I miss the actual work. I miss playing a character that was just plain fun and a character that was super challenging. I would learn things as actor. Not just about acting but about people and different ways of thinking. Some roles require research, some require digging at emotions and memories you usually prefer not to touch. But it is rarely ever dull.
I miss getting to see other people work. It’s really cool to watch another actor doing something really well, particularly if they are a friend.
I miss making new friends. Almost all of the friends I have or have ever had, I’ve met through the theatre. It’s actually a little difficult to find people that I have things in common with now that I’m not actively involved in the theatre scene.
On the flip side, I don’t miss the frustrations. You get frustrated when the work isn’t going in the direction you want it to. You get frustrated when you put everything into a production and the audience isn’t responsive, if they even come at all. You get frustrated when you see people constantly get cast and you can’t figure out why, while other people who are quite good are lucky to get a walk on role.
I don’t miss the egos. Most actors, myself included, have one. The stereotype is there for a reason. Not all of them make a big deal about it, but some are just insufferable. In my experience, the actors with the biggest egos are those that really don’t deserve to have them. They don’t have a lot of range and are pretty awful to work with, yet they think every production revolves around them. Usually, that’s how they are outside of rehearsal as well. Though to be fair, some people are difficult to work with because as good as they are, they are super insecure and take it out on those around them. It takes all types.
I don’t miss the politics. Every industry has some and the theatre world is not any different. Who you know or don’t know, like or don’t like, makes a difference as to how far you get. It’s sad.
At the end of the day, I wish I could still be involved in that world. Would I trade the time with my kids for it? Never. Would I be happy if they wanted to do it? I don’t know. I guess I just need to see if that’s something they really want to be a part of. It might be fun if it was something my daughters and I could share. Again, some of that life really sucks. Maybe Phoebe and Zoe will have a passion for something else. Maybe it will be for the best.
This is all “what if” talk. Right now, I will be fine with knowing that one day I can go back to the theatre, even if it’s just as a hobby. For now, my time is better spent offstage.