A few years back I landed a gig on a commercial. Mind you this is during the time I had a huge chip on my shoulder and a poor outlook to boot.
I sat with the crew, always do. The crew guys ran the gamut of humanity, but my favorite was this one dude I got to talking to, he was from Boston so I told him A-Rod was a ding dong and said we deserved lose after he batted the ball out of Arroyo’s glove. Decent guy, auburn scruff. I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but I made some dumbass, self-deprecating, off-handed comment about having brothers that were engineers and here I was just some actor. He liked me enough to say,
“Don’t ever say that again, man. The world needs its storytellers.”
The man, without lifting a finger, had kicked my ass. Oh man did he kick it.
He was completely right and I was completely wrong.
I was like fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, I’m going about this all wrong. So I changed gears.
Theater lets us look at ugly things without having to experience them ourselves, beautiful things that give us something to hope for, and everything in between. Being one of the storytellers means you have the honor but also the responsibility of reaching others with your work. Some of us are fortunate enough to do it as a career because it empowers us to reach out to others while also using that reach to serve others.
You can make a difference, too, you know. Give community theater a try. Go do the chorus. There are no small roles, only small actors. We all start somewhere. You haven’t felt pain until you’ve caught skin with your zipper during a quick change. Also show crushes.
If you’re too self conscious to audition, work in the crew first. The crew see it all, hear it all and wear black backstage to go unnoticed. You’ll have a chance to get comfortable in the space. Then when you’re ready, make that mother fucker your own. You never know, maybe you’ll be the Dame Judy Dench of Whateversville, OhHiYo, smoking one of those old school cigarette stems so your hands and face don’t smell like 1940s Grand Central. I know for a fact the local theater where I grew up gave me my compass. I’d be dead without the arts.
We are going to need to use every tool we have to fight climate change, tribalism and the rest of the shit holding us back, and the arts are the most potent.
Be well, Travel.