Friday, July 17, 2009
While lately I have been attempting to embrace my quirk, well...quirks, I have come to realize that much of my talent lies in being able to do lots of stuff - maybe none of it GREAT (that is for others to decide) but between the looks I have: give me a mustache and I can play a Greek; give me a beard and my decent Persian accent and I am from the Middle East. I can play drunk convincingly well, do decent accents, sing from upper bass to tenor and so on. And yet all of this seems to make me almost unmarketable because I fall between two many lines. I am not "enough" of one type or one "strength" to land anything.
All of this comes from a great many auditions in the past two months where the feedback has been remarkable, to the point where I am often in the room for over 15 or 20 minutes doing everything under the sun, and being told how great I am at ALL of it but then never getting a call to do ANY of it. And I can only assume it is because people come in who can only do one of the things I do but they do it REALLY WELL and probably a bit better than me. Or they don't do it any better, but their type is closer to what that character would be - fatter, taller, younger, older, hotter, more Latin looking, less ethnic looking - you get the idea.
It's not like a lot of this stuff is new to me. I remember in college someone came from The Barn Theatre to audition the juniors and seniors for possible summer stock work. I sang from EVITA and nailed it, did Doolittle's monologue from MY FAIR LADY and nailed it and then did something else too. At the evaluation they said I blew them away with my voice and had them rolling with the monologue but that I gave them "mixed images." They said they wouldn't know what track to put me in because I fell "in the cracks." Those were their words, not mine. I remember feeling completely confused because I had assumed my versatility would be needed in stock where you might be asked to play a host of roles and ensemble parts in a varied season. I still think that I am right on that as a general rule, and maybe they were just blowing smoke up my ass cause they thought I was crap, I suppose I will never know. But it is interesting to me at this stage in my career that I feel like I am getting SO close and giving the auditions of my life (especially vocally) and yet I just can't get anything to land.
I have also been told by managers and agents that knowing your type and doing everything you can to fit into a specific "mold" or "track" is imperative to knowing where you fit in the business. Trouble is, I feel I could fit all over the place. Does that mean I don't fit anywhere? And if I don't fit, then what is the point?
I am on the verge of being forced out of the business of acting for the first time in my life. Now I have left before...twice before...but I made the decision to leave each time for different reasons. This time I don't WANT to leave, but debt and bill collectors and to be honest, a way of life is demanding that something come thru or I need to get a real job again and leave the biz behind. And when people say "just wait tables." or "take temp work," I want to scream! I DID THAT 20 years ago (well not wait tables but you already know that story) and to be honest, I can't afford to do that. I created a life for myself that I am TOTALLY willing to give up if I can be a working actor. But if I CAN'T be a working actor, then no, to be honest...I won't give up dinners out and vacations and cruises. I realize you can't have it all which is why I gave it all up two years ago.
A former student and friend (who also cast me in a couple projects which I am FOREVER grateful for) said to me that maybe I don't want it bad enough. I don't want to believe that, but maybe his is right.
I am sure that some of this seems to be free-flow thought with no rhyme or reason and I am certain that some of it is tied to earlier posts and may seem redundant. For that I apologize. All part of the actor's lifetime I guess...
What is in store???
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Clip from dress rehearsal of The US Premiere of this musical version of The Comedy of Errors (this adaptation includes original music by Guy Woolfsenden and lyrics by Trevor Nunn). Directed by RSC director Maurice Daniels with musical staging by Beverly Fletcher. This clip is the song, He Beats Me! sung by me as Dromio of Ephesus
Friday, July 10, 2009