The shows are over, my agent hasn't called in what feels like an eternity...and it is hot as blue blazes here in South Florida. The spaces in between...I don't know if you know the show ANTON IN SHOWBUSINESS by Jane Martin but it is a fabulous play with perhaps one of the best one-liners I have ever heard regarding the business...I am sure I will paraphrase here as it has been many, many years since sitting in the rehearsal room at Actors Theatre of Louisville watching those kick-ass women creating their magic in that room & Jon Jory leading them along the way.
-- "Never ask an out of work actor what's next." --
Lord have mercy. Ain't it the truth...
I mean the real truth is, Bren has 3 shows lined up for the theatre we are company members with and begins rehearsing in November. We both are teaching a series of acting classes this fall - an audition workshop, some acting for adults and a series of classes for children on the spectrum (insert shameless advertising! Click for class info- Alliance of the Arts & Florida Rep). Bren got a phone call regarding more commercials for his gig where he is a spokesperson but no firm dates...so we wait. I got a phone call regarding a new contract with an old commercial I did to re-up for 6 months...no firm dates, so we wait. And my two shows don't begin rehearsal until February. So I could wait?? No way. Waiting is for people with f-u money. If you don't know what that is. STOP. Immediately. And watch Beauty is Embarrassing. Seriously. I will wait.
So what to do, what to do? Since today is 9/11 and everyone is reflecting on where they were, what this day means to them and how we all should never forget... I am thinking of how the theatre community responded to this tragic date in our history. No one knew what to do. Artists really didn't know what to do. It all seemed so futile. And as artists tend to have a flare for the existential...what is life even about? How do we laugh again? How do we ask our audiences to cry with us again when we are in morning? What is my purpose here? What do we do with this? Is creating art enough in the face of such loss? Is creating art a waste of time and talent with the world going down the shitter? Is creating art going to help change the world when the world needs so much changing? Creating is all that is left. There was a lovely essay written - probably lots of them about this subject but this one comes to mind... And of course it has been forever lost to me in the vortex of the interwebs...But the answer according to the artist/writer was powerful. People need their humanity more than ever. People need connection with each other more than ever. People need love not fear more than ever before -- I dare say more now than 13 years ago.
So what the hell does this have to do with being an out of work actor? Well ya gotta do something! CREATE! Some actors we know teach yoga, teach spin classes, wait tables, work temp jobs doing god knows what, are website designers and one even admits to being a phone ho. (probably more than one but one is admitting...). I always go back to arts admin. I like it, I am good at it and it keeps me connected to the arts in a very real way. Over the years, I have done a little bit of everything from cleaning the toilets in theatres to donor services and now I am taking on production manager for the premier juried art show in our area, ArtFest Fort Myers. Approx 85,000 patrons in 2 days. CREATE! On Super Soul Sunday, Oprah had on Steve Harvey. He talked about vision boards and how important they are in his life. I am filling my office with vision boards. And now Bren and I are starting one at home. Feeling fortunate and blessed. Filling up the spaces in between...CREATE!
Stay healthy~ xo
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/