Those crazy actors are up to it… again.

Most people think of actors as extroverts, socially adept and confident in every public situation. The life of the party. They think of Robin Williams or Jack Black: chewing up the scenery, the sofa, the restaurant at a moment’s notice round-the-clock.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, most of the actors I know are artists. That’s what they have in common. Everything else about them is unique, varied and distinct.

As for me, I’m painfully shy in public, often breaking out in a sweat when I have to speak in the checkout line of the local supermarket. I’ve never been completely relaxed around people. And parties? I hate them. I’d rather face a root canal than even just ten minutes of standing around with a drink in my hand in a roomful of strangers.

Why, then, do we become actors? For lots of reasons. And not all of them good or healthy reasons, either. But the most compelling reasons, the ones that give you staying power in the course of your career as an actor, are artistic or spiritual in nature. You act because you have to. Because if you didn’t your life would be missing something fundamental and essential: you.

I can’t describe well enough the sensation I feel in my body just watching two people on a coach lit with a single spotlight surrounded by darkness talking. That’s all it takes, that simple a scene and I’m hooked. I want to listen, watch and learn.

Learn? Yes! I want to learn how to be a human being. I think that’s why we do it. Present theatre. Act. Write plays. Because we want to understand ourselves as people.

I go out on stage and talk to strangers even though I’m terrified, sweating profusely, because I’m trying to learn some things about human beings. And in the process, I slowly ease into being human. I relax. Become aware of everything possible in the present moment. And feel absolutely alive.

That feeling of aliveness is what gives me the courage to face my fear of speaking in public and do it anyway. Isn’t it strange, though, that people choose to do the very thing they’re most afraid of?

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9 thoughts on “Those crazy actors are up to it… again.

  1. i see where you are coming from . for years ive had people expect me to perform at the drop of a cocktail . its always like, ” you are an actor, so you are on ” . doesnt matter if it infringes on ones personal life/space . i am an actor . i am alsp out going, gregarious in my personal life but, i also need long spells of aloneness and silence . just to be me . not everyone gets that . and i am an actor .

  2. Acting is artistry in movement. I’ve tried my hand at acting (to utter hilarious embarrassment), and through it fell in love with theatre, but I find myself more at home with the ideas behind the stage, and the role of the playwright. I am a confirmed introvert, and so acting for me has become the perfect mask. I am out there on the stage, being who I want myself to be: athletic, charismatic, funny, deep, tragically flawed, and above all noticed. The theatre has something that film and the written word will never have; an immediate response and critique. I have written shows that have gone up onstage, and even being one of the audience members, feeling the exact same way they are, is a moment I would never exchange. The theatre makes people think and feel at the exact same time.

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