Reasons to be Famous (Part Two)
continued from yesterday's part one...
I am guilty of not seeing enough theatre. I am too "busy" or too "poor" or have "other" things to do. The truth is that I am lazy. Going to see a piece of theater is work. That's what acting school will do to you. My brain is always in essay mode, questioning everything I see and trying to come up with some glimmer of an answer. But I always end up learning something, and I am always glad I went... no matter what.
Most of the theater I see is stuff my friends are in or stuff that is "famous" somehow - celebrity actors or directors, it's on Broadway, or the New York Times gave it a good review. Very rarely do I go and see something just because "it sounds interesting" or even because "I love that play." As I have said before, Hamlet is one of my favorite works. There are probably several productions happening somewhere in New York right now. But do I have tickets to go see any of them? Nope.
This makes me part of the problem. This problem with celebrity. And lack thereof. And the problem with quality. And lack thereof. The problem of "dying theater."
As a sit through the run of Reasons To Be Pretty, I smile, laugh, raise my eyebrows, exhale audibly... and wish that I could wave a magic wand and put all the actors on a beautiful stage in front of a huge, adoring audience. But that's not the way the world works. Fortunately, their work is valid and valuable no matter what. In fact, I would make the argument that if no one were to go see this production, the actors would not suffer. Any disappointment or ego blow would probably only make them work harder. But Theatre suffers. And therefore we (the absent audience, the hopeful artists) suffer.
I know that quality has nothing to do with the number of witnesses present. There are reality TV shows that I have never seen but know more about than what is currently playing Off-Broadway and I have frequently been disappointed by the quality of the star-filled shows I have seen on The Great White Way. So why don't I spend more time in some of those downtown theaters? It's much cheaper, so that takes care of the "broke" excuse, and it isn't going to take up any more of my time than going to see a big dollar show.
So I'm that guy! I am that person that makes producers put movie stars on stage instead of MFA grads. I'm that person that buys fashion and tabloid magazines to read in the green room (oh, the irony) but disqualifies an open mic poetry night from my Friday night plans because of a $10 dollar cover. I'll spend a couple of hours watching crap on Hulu, but have "too many things to do" to go see a gig at UCB.
(Insert an impressive variety of loud and lewd expletives here.)
Something has to change. Here it goes...
I would like to challenge the idea of celebrity. If for nothing else, I owe it to myself as an actor.
Hey you - yes YOU - person reading this blog - chances are you are an actor if you're here. Or an artist of some kind. What have you got going on right now? I want to come see it. Teach me something about art. I dare you. On top of that (with cherries and chocolate sauce, if you like) I dare you to go learn something about art. Go see whatever is happening in the arts space closes to our apartment. Go see Reasons To Be Pretty Under St. Marks. Go play darts with your Time Out New York mag and go see something completely random. Chances are, a lot of hard work has been put into it, whatever it is. Go make someone feel famous. They might just return the favor.
So here I go. Gonna go see some live theatre and make sure theatre stays (a)live. I'd love some company. Are you in a show? Post it! See something good? Leave a comment about it! Let's, like, be a community... 'kay?
Call me an idealist, but I figure it's a much brighter way to live than giving into cynicism.