I am a writer. Yes. I am. I am. I AM! Dammit. I still am. Despite the fact that I look a lot like an actor at the moment. I am actoring in a short play at a small theatre in Melbourne called La Mama. It's a lovely theatre and quite famous. Anyway. I'm doing five shows a week for three weeks. Let me say a few things about acting.
It's fucking easy.
What are actors going on about all the time? Whenever I'm a director all I hear is whinge whinge moan. "Can't find my motivation" "Need to feel centred" "Do it again?" "I'm tired, this has really worn me out" "These lines are just SO hard to learn" "This is so emotional". No. It. Isn't. It's easy.
Frankly if you are just acting and you AREN'T worried about the publicity, getting full houses, finding money to pay people, updating websites, hounding all involved for biographies, directing, producing and/or writing then you have the EASIEST job of all. Independent theatre is a hard slog - I have been in it since 1993 and running a company since 1999. It is such unbelievably draining and difficult work. It requires a will of iron, a heart of steel and lots and lots of time.
It has been years since I just acted in something and I wasn't actually invested in it in some other way. It is amazing how lovely it is to walk into a rehearsal room and know that all I have to do is read my lines and think about what I might like to portray. Afterwards I don't have a production meeting in which I'm told that the venue we chose has no changing rooms and that the sound desk will cost another $150 and that one of my actors won't be around for the dress rehearsal ("I told you weeks ago!") and that the venue doesn't answer the phone calls from punters trying to book. These are all real things that have happened to me when producing/directing.
For the current production that I am in, I got to consider character and costume and I learned my lines and showed up to rehearsal. And I didn't do anything else. I sent out a call for people to see the show, but lets face it folks, all I have to do is facebook it now and then and email the rest. Takes 10 mins.
I have not compulsively checked the booking site 88 times today. Why? Because I don't have to. Yeah WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I still want to produce, direct and write. Why? Well I've had a think about that and it's not just because it's a challenge or it fulfills me - though they are both true. It's because it's mine. It's my company's creation. Because Chris, Tiff and I have worked long and hard to be able to make theatre in Melbourne and have people watch it and enjoy it. Because even though it's hard work, it's work that we know, understand and love and this is our sandpit. And we like to play here.
And frankly despite how annoying actors and venues and writers and directors and producers and stage managers and lighting technicians and designers actually are, they make up the bulk of my friends. And they are a manic, strange, creative and beautiful community.
And publicists. I like my publicist friends too, Ben. Yes. Ben. You. And any other arts related roles. Administration, dramaturgs, editors etc. All of you. I like you all.