What a feeling! You get that call on your cell phone, and you’ve got a job for the summer doing theatre. Someone is ACTUALLY PAYING you to do theatre! What a rush! What a high! What the hell do you do now? What is summer stock, really?
Art is awesome. I love making art. All I’ve ever wanted to do was tell stories, the kind that help us examine the human experience. That’s what I believe acting to be, particularly in the theatre. Now from a working actor’s perspective, reality has to come into play. You want to do stage work, it’s your passion, but do you remember all the times someone in your past told you that “there’s no money in theatre”? I hate to break it to you, but that person was right. But there’s a way to survive. You can act for a living. But to me, the only way to do it, is by using ALL of the mediums that are out there beyond the stage.
How can you have a family when you work in theatre arts? I am nearly thirty. Plenty of my peers have children, so I could, too, except I work in the arts. The choice to have children or not is made for a myriad of reasons, but the time and financial responsibility isn’t always manageable in theatre. It’s just not that simple in this line of work. There are so many factors to consider.
Should you be an understudy, a standby, a swing? It’s kind of a vague question, but usually the undercurrent there is that once you become known as a reliable cover, you’ll be an understudy forever. You could ask Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Hopkins, Bernadette Peters, Taye Diggs, Matthew Morrison, or Lea Michelle; they all started out as understudies and moved on to exceptional careers. But let’s backtrack a little, what’s the actual difference in these special stage roles? Each of these positions holds its own unique advantages and challenges.
Clothing is the most intimate and relatable design element in theater. Everyone wears clothing, and everyone has opinions about clothing. Often what we wear says more than any words or actions do: who we are, where we’re from, what year it is, how much money we have, how much money we want other to think we have. These are just a few stories clothing tells in real life and onstage, making the relationship between the actor and the costume designer one of the most important. As you share your discoveries of your character, the costumer can share theirs and you can build a strong character together if you follow five simple steps.