I have a wonderfully talented and hilarious friend named Justin Spurgeon. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him in some fantastic shows. He’s also a brilliant history teacher.
Below, is a little inspiration and dead-on portrayal on life in the theatre written by my fabulous friend.
For all of my theatre friends, or for those who have been in this position…
When it comes to theatre… “a bird in the hand is NOT worth two in the bush.” Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is written in stone. Everything can change, and usually does. Emotions are raw and run high. Stress levels are even higher. Nerves are shot. You are physically and emotionally exhausted. Friendships get strained. Some get severed. Your name/number is called. The comment, “You had a great audition, but we’ve decided to go in a different direction” should become commonplace. You are always too old, too young, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too loud, too quiet, too shy, too confident, in general, just not the right “look”, and yet, there’s a role for everyone out there. There really are small parts, and not just small actors. Directors are superior to actors. Actors are superior to directors. The thought of someone telling you “good luck” petrifies you. Something always happens to your costume right before your first entrance. If you think something will go wrong, you’ll be correct. If you think it will be a flawless show, you’ll be surprised. Keep focus. Never anticipate laughter, but hold for it if, NOT when, it comes. Audiences find humor in different things and on different nights. If it isn’t your prop, don’t touch it. Stop upstaging. Stop improvising. Stop paraphrasing. Act and react. Make it look believable. Keep focus. Stage left is right. Stage right is left. Move closer to the audience, and you’re downstage. Walk away, and you’re upstage. Keep focus. Don’t piss off technicians. They make you look good. You can piss off actors, they’re used to it. If you aren’t completely beat after a show, you’re not doing it right. Be nervous. Be sweaty. Laugh. Cry. Get angry. Show love and support. Keep focus. Theatre is a heartless, fickle, bipolar demon, which makes all of this ultimately sound awful, right? Then what an amazing power this volatile relationship has to continuously lure me, like many actors, time and time again.
Thanks, Justin…. for being you 🙂