by “Guest-Blogger” Rob Grace
I don't know about you, but when I hear about what goes on behind the scenes of a theatrical production, I am somewhat interested in the gossip about who hates who and who's sleeping with who, I'm somewhat more interested in the trials and tribulations of the rehearsal process, but, above all, I'm most interested in the existential crises occurring in the minds of the actors.
They always seem to emerge, these existential crises.
How can actors justify what they do? Tens of thousands of actors live in New York City alone. Everywhere you go in Manhattan, there is an actor. There are actors on your subway car. There's an actor in the elevator with you. At least two actors work with you to support themselves. If you go to see a play, and you think the only actors there are on the stage, you are greatly mistaken. There's an actor working the ticket booth, an actor running the soundboard, an actor backstage helping with costume changes. Who do you think made the programs? An actor. Who do you think swept the lobby before the show? An actor.
The world is not in need of them. The world is in need of teachers. Our country is in need of soldiers. In this troubled economy, wouldn't it be more worthwhile to start up a business to provide not only jobs, but a valuable service to society?
Ask an actor why he does what he does. He will have an answer ready for you.
"I really enjoy the creative process."
"I like being a part of something that shows an audience some inherent truth about human behavior and has the potential to help people better understand themselves and their society."
"It's the only time when I feel fully connected to my body, my emotions, and my intellect all at once."
"I like to make people laugh, think, and feel. People need the stimulation. They need the catharsis."
These are good reasons, but they are not honest answers. Here's the only honest answer:
"I don't know."
Nobody knows why they do it. I know this for a fact because I am an actor and I don't know why I do it, and I have yet to encounter an actor who has provided me with a reason that I felt was genuine and sufficient.
Prove me wrong. Actors, writers, photographers, dancers, everyone. I challenge you to put into words the drive to create art.
Consider the gauntlet thrown . . .