Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Theatre is my number one passion in life, don't get me wrong, but the amount of pretentious bullshit (also known as p.b.s.) that I hear from the mouths of actors that I work with is absolutely staggering.

My sister is currently in a production of "The Diary of Anne Frank", and after opening night, they had a talkback with the audience. Giving actors a chance to speak to an audience after they have just performed a "very important" play like that one is never a good idea. Sure enough, according to my sister, the p.b.s. ran rampant throughout that theatre, to the point where one of the actors said, "I've given up a NORMAL life to do this." Apparently, a "normal life" consists of not being a pretentious dick.

Seriously, what the fuck is so great about actors? Being one myself, I can tell you that we're nothing to give two shits about, and the less praise you can bestow on us, the better. The best actors I know are the ones who don't listen to what people say about them, and who don't take themselves seriously.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Acting is just playing pretend. That's all it is. I hate when I hear actors use the words "technique", "important", "review", "award", "motivation", etc. Every time an actor says that they were "born for this role" or that they are "a serious actor", I want to punch them. Talkbacks, interviews and program bios annoy the shit out of me.

I think the theatre community as a whole would be so much better if the actors involved kept the p.b.s. to a minimum. They need to quit giving a shit about what anyone except for the director thinks of their performance. They need to realize that nobody really cares about them, and that talking about themselves if they weren't asked only puts people off. And most of all, they need to realize that they are playing pretend for people who have enough money to attend theatre, and that there is very little that is noble or important about it. I also have to make sure that I make sure I don't do any of those things, now that I think about.

And then, no less than fifteen minutes after finding out about that talkback, I had one of my co-workers walk up to me. He is one of that select group of people who believe that they know all about theatre because that one person in his family was in a production of "Bye Bye Birdie" at some crappy theatre that has the word "community" in its name (if you haven't read a script or seen a play that was written in the last ten years, then you don't truly know what's going on in the world of theatre. Please stop reading now and pick up a Neil Labute or a Sarah Kane).

This guy comes up to me and tells me that someone at the office has a rubber skull on his desk, and that I should do the soliloquy from "Hamlet". I thought he was joking, but no. He actually wanted to see me perform "Hamlet". Not only is that the most obvious thing to do with a skull (how many "Hamlet" spoofs have we had in our time? And how many, beyond "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", are any good? I rest my case), but it's just plain stupid. I said I wouldn't (after all, I'm a serious actor...D'oh!), and he said that he wanted to see what a "professional actor" would do with it.

Okay, now what about me spending my day sitting in an office going through foreclosure reports makes you think that I'm a "professional"? If I were a professional, would I be here? Wouldn't I be snorting coke off some crazed fan's ass next to my pool in Beverly Hills, instead of living in a house with four other middle-class artists in Anaheim? That is exactly the kind of comment that pretentious actors take to heart. That's right, I AM a professional actor...who just doesn't get paid and is seen only by blue-haired subscribers or other members of the theatre community. But I did that Ross commercial and that guest spot on "She-Spies". Yes, I am an ac-tor!

We need to stop praising actors. Instead of giving awards for the best performance, we should give out awards for those who have potential but need improvement. Who knows, if we stop giving recognition to these people, they might actually up their game. We do not learn through praise, but through criticism. Once we start cutting down the egos of the p.b.s. actors out there, then maybe we'll actually start having good theatre on a regular basis. One can only hope...

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