...I continue to take the road less traveled.
First off --not the beginning of my adventures in blogging but since I have not posted in OVER 4 YEARS and A LOT of shit has happened professionally and personally-- I am going to start at the top (and if you really give a damn you can go back at look at the archive).
This is harder than I remembered. I have written an entire piece and erased it already a couple of times now. Why? Well quite frankly I can't really write honestly about some of this jazz. What I really want to say -- I don't have the balls for just yet.
So you are an actor? yeah. We are out here. We are working. We exist. And you don't know recognize my face and I like it that way frankly. We consider this AS MAKING IT! We are not "waiting for our big break." We are DOING the work. I am a huge fan of Stephen McKinley Henderson (most folks wouldn't know his name either but you probably know his work). He was asked on the red carpet what advice he would give his 20 year old self. He said, "I would say THE WORK is enough. If you are doing it differently in Toledo than you are doing it on Broadway -- you don't deserve to do it either place." Words I truly live by.
I have often asked myself -- why isn't there a blog written about acting and the work BY regional theatre actors?And now as I sit here with my coffee and Nina Simone singing in the background, I am beginning to pick up a clear answer to that question. Nina tells me -- We are bound. We are bound in all kinds of ways. The politics of the industry. The politics of institutions. The politics of our community. And people seem to enjoy getting bent at all kinds of things these days - so I am bound to write something that royally pisses someone off... It's not all sunshine-glamour and glitter-rainbows out here for a player, friends. And those of us in the trenches know it. This is an unforgiving business even for those of us who are the lucky privileged few who work consistently enough for health care coverage. And those poor souls who are in purgatory in the audition-hell-circle-just-trying-to-book-a-gig...#bless. (1st insider tip -- an actor who works enough to get healthcare coverage year after year makes up a VERY small percent of our union members). From Actors Equity Association re: our coverage --In order to qualify, you must have at least 11 weeks of covered employment in any 12 calendar months “accumulation period” to qualify for 6 months of coverage. If you attain 19, or more, weeks of covered employment in an accumulation period, you may qualify for 12 months of coverage. This is rehearsal and performance weeks.
Dry as hell but grown up shit...That equals approx 3 shows a season for those counting. And while you can't read it on a program bio -- that is steep for most actors. The odds are not in our favor. There are only a few thousand contracts out there season to season and millions of actors in America. My hubs and I are proud to say we have been in that small quadrant of artists who have worked enough for consistent coverage for many years now. So we are working actors. I'm qualified to discuss this stuff. In a world where all have opinions, I am actually an expert witness with a track record to prove it. Why do I sound like a candidate running for office?
I will say this now. I am going to stay diligent and keep this bad boy up. I will discuss my work in the room. I will discuss my prep process. I will try to examine what is happening in American Theatre during the reign of the Orange King. I will talk about actor life in NYC vs. life in the regions and why we made the choice to live outside of the city... I will attempt to unravel what an ensemble means and how it affects the work...I will try to be brave and tell you like I see it. Thanks for reading and for sharing with fellow travelers. <3
I'm a southern gal with liberal politics who has worked my ass off and sacrificed a lot in order to be a working regional theatre actor. There are lots of working actors who are out here grinding without begin famous. And we consider that we have already MADE it. I really like to tell stories and solve the puzzle of the text. I LOVE untangling scripts and unlocking characters. I really give a damn about the planet and am an avid gardener. I love to get my hands dirty. I am completely fascinated by fellow journey(man) actors and how we survive and thrive. Ballin' on a budget, Baby. http://www.rachelburttram.com/