Friday, July 10, 2015

So Many People

Polly McKie as Gertrude Stein 
with Penny Lynn White as Alice B Toklas
"McKie and White anchor the play with fairly 
miraculous specificity as the odd (lifelong) 
couple at its center"

I said the man for me must have a castle
A man of means he'd be, a man of fame
And then I met a man who hadn't any
Without a penny to his name.*

I dreamed of the West End or Broadway.  I still do.  But I am so thrilled to have been part of this brilliant new play and I was not paid a cent.  

Yes, I scoff and am frustrated with many of the Actors' Access casting notices (must be over 5' 6" and willing to do pay!) I do not encourage anyone in this business to be foolish about what you have to offer. Of course, we deserve to be paid BUT, there are certain projects worth working for. For the project and for yourself as an actor.  

with Dorothy Weems as Dorothy Parker
"Plays like this do not come around often; a well written,
well organized piece for seven strong female actresses."

I had to go and fall
For so much less than
What I had planned from
All the magazines
I should be good and sore
What am I happy for
I guess the man means more than the means.*

Recently, I met a couple of particularly jaded and bitter actors who scoffed my working for low pay.  I started to doubt my choices. Of course, I want a better salary but when I examined their lives versus mine, I started to realize how lucky I am.  I have chosen art over money.  Of course, it is not easy but, quite frankly, if you put your survival bar job above a possible low paid acting gig, you are not helping yourself.  

Of course, we all need to survive, but your survival job HAS to be flexible if you want to be serious about your acting career.

"Special kudos to Polly McKie who seems to embody Gertrude Stein;"

So many people in the world
And what can they do?
They'll never know love
Like my love for you.*

My love is for acting. For the work.  Not for fame. Of course, I am ambitious and want to work with brilliant directors on brilliant plays, but that does not always mean Broadway.   

"...commendable acting with special notice to McKie's
nuances of depth and emotion to Gertrude"

So many people laugh
At what they don't know
But that's their concern
If just a few say
Half a million or so
Could see us
They'd learn*

And the most important thing is that work breeds work.  Word of mouth in this business is more powerful than anything else. I met the brilliant young playwright, Steven Carl McCasland through Polly's Follies (a weekly musical theatre open mic I host at Room 53) and he invited me to audition for "Little Wars". I read the script and loved it. And this play was full of wonderful female roles. Something hard to find! 

As actors in this current climate, we often pay to be seen by casting directors and it is always better to be able to talk about what you are working on. And gives you an opportunity to invite people to see your work.

I am not saying that you should take any old unpaid acting work. Of course, you must have respect for your craft and yourself. But, once in a while, a great project crosses your path and there can often be so many reasons to say YES.

with Samantha Hoefer as Bernadette
"...the raucous Gertrude Stein
expertly played by actress Polly McKie."

So many people in the world
Don't know what they've missed
They'd never believe
Such joy could exist
And if they tell us
Its a thing without growth
They're jealous as they can be
That with so many people
In the world

You love me.*

*So Many People from "Saturday Night"
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim