There are two things that really attracted me to theater. The first is showing people very real things they don’t often think about or get to experience. These are things like the overpowering feeling of first love or the agony of making big mistakes (like we so often do in the thrall of first love). This is often accomplished with shows that use real people and believable plots (The Rainmaker was always my favorite). I think it takes quite a bit of talent to put yourself into a role and play it sincerely, not doing too much or too little, but playing it as a real person and thereby allowing the audience to forget it’s an actor on stage. That’s when they really come along with you for the journey.
Then there’s the power of theater to show people what could never be, to bring to life the truly strange, to make them think outside the box for a few hours. I think this takes a particularly brave actor, because you’re going to be looking silly, but looking silly in the proper context can be appropriately creepy or other worldly. A good example is this clip from House MD:
Admittedly, my preference was always for the latter. I can’t get enough of shows like The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Shock Treatment, pieces that are absurd and it’s up to the actor to try and make sense of them. I love bringing the surreal to life as a performer. Those shows always gave me the most room to explore and to play.These are concepts with which I was unfamiliar as a freshman in college. I thought acting was simply pretend, not digging within for empathy and trying to understand a character deeply. At the freshman concert I performed “Alive” from Jekyll & Hyde and while I’m sure it wasn’t bad, I would do it much better now.
I’m going to sing a number with my voice students at their concert on the 17th. I think I might take another stab at it. At the time I did it because I liked the song. Now I know how much I enjoy playing characters that are nothing like me. If you know me, you know that being kind to those around me is very important to me. That’s why I don’t like playing good guys in shows. I like playing interesting characters, villains, lunatics – though thanks to my baby face and upwardly slanting eyebrows I seldom get the chance.
I like exploring the psyche of a villain. That’s something I didn’t get when I was young, but I might just do it again. Thanks for letting me share. It’s a good feeling to come back to something you once did knowing you will do it with greater proficiency. It lets you know how much you’ve grown.
If I can get a recording I will do so.