Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Own Little Schmemmy

... I wish.

I know I come here to vent a lot, but let's be honest- it's my party and I'll bitch if I want to.

So here's the thing: MSU is doing Chekhov's "The Seagull" in the fall. I know, the big name, Chekhov. Well, I was lucky enough to be called back for the part of Medvedenko. I will honestly and with all sincerity say that I always feel lucky to be offered a callback, and especially lucky to be cast- there are lots of people who don't get those opportunities.

Ok, the politics are over, let's dish. The GENIUS Chekhov, who is often preceded by his reputation of writing amazing plays with amazing characters, apparently wrote amazing characters for this play that are extremely deep and intricate... except Medvedenko. He is LITERALLY described quite often as being "mundane" and "simple". Medvedenko is also not a central character in the plot.

Which means, my dear readers, that once again I'm being considered for a simple, straight-forward, uncomplicated character who drifts on and offstage simply to give the central characters something to talk about while he's in his dressing room. Do you hear that, Tom Stoppard? I think the unparalleled character piece that was Richard Noakes in "Arcadia" might actually have competition for the most unnoticed character in a show.

My complaint, however, does not simply regard a callback for a character I haven't even read for, let alone been offered, but more the implication of what this says about me. Am I visible? When I audition, how is it that the first thing people think is, "Gee, he'd look great in a period costume backstage"? I know that I shouldn't poo-poo my opportunities, but seriously- could someone give me the chance to try something? Could I be given the opportunity to succeed or fall on my face once? I don't think I'm so hopeless that the only parts I could ever play are the ones that don't go onstage.

I know character actors are destined for this... but that is assuming that they are given characters. I would be happy with a small part that meant something or had some nice scenes, but so far in act one of the play, Medvedenko has told Masha that he kind of loves her, and his life sucks (in so many words), then he walked off and I'll be damned if he's not sitting in a chair in the greenroom watching "Philadelphia" on his laptop. I don't mean to sound like this is a part that's mine, because for all I know it's not even a close call for me. The problem I have is that I would really like the opportunity to do something onstage.

I am just as talented as the people who are given chances time and time again, and in many cases are not entirely successful. The fact is, if any of us were always successful, we wouldn't be doing college-level theater, we'd be out working. The PROBLEM is, some people are given a chance to hone their craft, and some people wear leafy vests and watch DVDs for two hours until curtain call.

During "Arcadia", I can count on one hand the number of notes I got that weren't regarding blocking. This is not because I am the next great American actor, it's because I read the script, saw the guy, and BOOM- there he was. It wasn't rocket science to figure out that the gardener hates the lady of the estate for insulting his work and constantly fights with her. And by constantly, I mean in the first and last ten minutes of the play. Sure, in between it's discussed by Septimus and Thomasina how Noakes is intricately involved in the revealing of Mrs. Chater's affair with Septimus, and how his steam engine is like the math, and blah blah blah... Is Noakes there to discuss it? No. His name is just a catalyst for discussion, and his presence, like Halley's Comet, is brief and rare.

I haven't finished "The Seagull" yet, but it's beginning to look like Medvedenko fills a similar role. Without Medvedenko to distract Masha from the fact that she can't have Konstantin, her plight would never be developed. So what's important is not that Medvedenko wants to be with Masha, it's that Masha wants to be with Konstantin and has to settle for Medvedenko. Getting the drift yet? Medvedenko's story isn't the roast duck drizzled in plum sauce, it's the plate it came on. And to me, the actor, it might look like delicate china with a flowery border in an ironic shade of "eggshell", but to the audience it's a white fucking plate.

I literally, on opening night, received a very touching, but honest card from my director of "Arcadia" that said, "You are proof that there are no small parts, just small actors". While this was extremely flattering and I am very appreciative of my director's comments, that statement is not entirely true. No small parts, just small actors? Great. Tell that to Jackie Hoffman.

You: Jackie who?
Me: exactly.

Anyway, I sincerely apologize. You know only half of this is honestly how I feel, and the other 20% is entirely embellishment. In all seriousness, I just want to be noticed. I want someone to see that I'm talented and give me the chance to prove it and to work on it. None of this is intended to offend anyone, it's just the silly opinions of a bitter, bitchy actor who probably has no business complaining. But it's my blog, right?

Here's to hoping "Sweeney Todd" pulls through... and don't get me started on "Sweet Charity" in the spring. (Really? "Sweet Charity" the year after "Side Show"?) Oy...

Peace, Love, and Light... if I could only get a light on ME once in a while =P

1 comment:

  1. "The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success."
    ~ David Sarnoff

    Trust your talent, remain confident, have will happen :)