All of the stories captured in After Dark this week I can relate to and of course I have first hand knowledge of some, having been in that same boot camp called theatre school together with Gaëtan. I don't think any of this would have happened without the internet that makes it so easy to reconnect with old friends and keep in touch. We all know what the bad aspects of the internet are I think.
I found myself chuckling or fuming all over again reading about the downside of show people. It got me thinking about what is probably the worst experience you can have on the stage. Working with someone that is drunk or stoned is always frightening. There can be the fear that no one understands what is happening on stage or that you have no confidence in what is going to happen next.
The scariest thing for me is when there is staged choreography that is supposed to make it look like you are getting hurt and in your mind you're thinking, “Oh fuck, I'm doomed!” If an actor is supposed to strike you with a well placed knee in your nether regions or is swinging out wildly with a large club into darkness that you are on the edge of, you just have to pray to whatever deity or saint might be listening.
There was an overheard comment on the green room bulletin board at the NAC. "Young child, Mommy, are those real people up there?" "Oh no dear, they’re actors."
Before anyone judges the what or why of these instances, know that actors actually are people. They find out they have cancer or they have personal problems that are difficult to cope with. Sometimes you may see them assume other roles of people on stage and assume that they are like those people, but they are clay footed like everyone else and suffer the same difficulties and heartache and sometimes just can’t cope without help. It doesn’t make dealing with this on stage any easier for the other actors that are affected by these downward spirals but it does frame why we do it. We want to expose something of the human condition but we are not immune to it ourselves.