“Do you ever get stage fright?”
One of the most common questions an actor is asked. Entirely understandable, since many people have a fear of speaking in public. Anyone who is not an actor might imagine that it must be terrifying to step on a stage in front of an audience.
My answer? Never. Not ever. To me, the stage is the safest place in the world.
Peter Quince stood in front of the crowd and began to introduce the play:
“The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe.”
I’ve been in several productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve played both Pyramus and Thisbe, the title characters in the play within the play. I’ve also played Oberon, Theseus, and Demetrius. So I’ve watched the rude mechanicals put on this performance from the house, as well.
It used to be, years ago, that you showed up to the Actors’ Equity building for an audition at four in the morning and waited on line. Outside. On the sidewalk. People brought blankets and folding chairs and cups of hot chocolate and books to read. This was before. Before cell phones, and before things changed.
“Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”
Oh, man. Why did she have to go and do that? We were having a perfectly wonderful day together. I’d worked with this older lady a few times before. Doing background on a tv show, or a commercial. Maybe a movie. You tend to cross paths with the same people eventually, when you do this sort of work long enough. You make friends, since sometimes you are spending a fifteen hour day sitting together in the holding area.
“You look like a mime.”
That came from the photographer who was shooting my headshot. Years ago. Back in New York. When we were still shooting in black and white. Film. Not digital.
People say that to me all the time, and I don’t mean when I am wearing white face. Photographers, casting directors, every day people I come across. They don’t know that I am, in fact, a mime. They just tell me that I look like one.
Sometimes I joke that half of what I own was used in a show. It’s not far from the truth, actually. So many of the items around my house were originally purchased as a prop or set piece for a play, or they were already my belongings and I cast them in a show. Or two. Or three. That’s one of the things that happens when you do small budget theatre.
There was a story in the news last year about an Easter Bunny getting into a brawl with some guy in a New Jersey mall. Naturally, there was footage, and it was pretty funny. The kind of funny when you know you should not be laughing, because… do I need to say it? There are kids standing around horrified.