Respect for Acting

People asked why I say actor in the last post and not actress. [No, they didn’t, but it came up at work the other day in a completely different context.] I used to hang around the theater in NYC and I was in a few two off-off Broadway plays. It was hard work …

… Not truly hard like hoisting cow carcasses, but hard in the way writing is hard.
It took an enormous amount of energy to go on stage, and be onstage
four nights a week. I can only imagine that it takes true dedication,
true passion, to find that energy night after night, and thrive on it.
I could do it, but I was never drawn to it, if you know what I mean.
But I met a lot of great people. So it bothers me when people say
actors are flaky or ditsy. [Or, worse, like my ex-girlfriend: "I hate
actors, they are so egotistical."] They couldn’t have met many, or any.
The actors I knew worked day jobs, and spent their weeknights in
classes, and their weekends in theaters, and fit auditions into the
cracks in between. The people I know out here in This-City-That-Vexes —  not all, but too many of
them — work eight hours (spending half the time playing boggle looking
over their shoulders for the supervisor) and then call it a day. They
go home at night disgusted that nobody handed them a promotion or a
raise. Give me creative people every time. Happy people, who are doing
what they want. I don’t say "authoress," no one does. We say writer in
this century. So actor, I say!

P.S. With this post, I’ve inaugurated an additional and time honored category: Rant.
P.P.S. Incidentally, Uta Hagen’s book from which I took the title for this post, is a great  book for fiction writer’s to read. Especially if you’re interested in writing from "the inside out," and being intimately involves in the emotional life of your characters. You are interested in that aren’t you?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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