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To Flee Or Not to Flee: Is it Even A Question?

January 20, 2012

What do you do if you get cast in something that…stinks?

You know what I’m talking about.  And you know it the minute it hits you.  Sometimes it’s as early as receiving the break down or the email that announces they’d like you to come in for an audition.

  • There are more than three typos
  • There is no website for the theatre
  • Their description of the company and/or of the breakdown is slightly too superfluous.

But you’re hopeful.  Maybe things will turn around.  After all, some of the best artists are terrible over email.

But then there’s the audition.

  • It took you an hour and a half to get there
  • Your fellow overly community theatre savvy auditioners are bragging about the extra-work they did today
  • The auditors are more nervous to audition you than you are to audition for them

But you’re hopeful.  Maybe things will turn around.  Afterall, it’s…a full moon??

And you’re CAST!  …. Buuut….

  • The first rehearsal is in the basement of an old church or a preschool and it smells like a nursing home
  • The director stutters and he hasn’t read the play
  • You will not be inviting friends or family to this

Do you go through with it?

It’s the age-old question.  As an actor, fresh to the city, do I just take anything I can get?


I don’t necessarily agree with this way of thinking, the biggest reason being (and I was finally able to put this in words just the other day):

POORLY EXECUTED THEATRE THAT IS NOT APPROACHED PROFESSIONALLY, SKILLFULLY, AND SERIOUSLY BELITTLES THEATRE ITSELF.  You know what good theatre is.  Seek it out.   Your time is valuable and you can take the time you will potentially waste in a “stinky theatre” rehearsal to work your creativity in other ways.  You are AN ARTIST.  Not a “make-my-resume-as-long-as-possible-ist.”  Create art; not anything. Bottom line: don’t do theatre you don’t think is good.

So what can you do in the meantime?  Here are some awesome ideas that will make you feel fulfilled as an artist and allow you to practice your craft:

1.  Hang out at New Dramatists  – Read scripts, write your own play, drink free coffee.

2. Come to FullStop Collective’s Showing of Foreplays2012 – Get a sneak peak, eat wine and cheese, give feedback.

3. Attend Shelter Sundays  Play with new material, hear new plays, get the kinks out of audition monologues.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

Got it kiddos?  Make sure you can take pride in everything you do.

Onwards and Upwards,

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 9:18 am

    Are you sure you didn’t steal this from me? I’m pretty sure this is something I’ve said verbatim….

    …okay that’s a lie. I couldn’t write this as well as you did. So glad there are other artists spreading the word about this. I’m actually trying to get myself to a point where I audition for everything I can (assuming it’s somethign that I actually fit the part for…been trying to stay away from the 40 year old women roles lately). Then if I get the “bad theatre” vibe, I can always decline the role.

    Oh, and I love the “don’t settle” quote. I’m a huge fan of the phrase itself. Great post! =)

  2. January 20, 2012 6:34 pm

    Thanks Tony! Yes, please start to avoid the 40 year old woman roles; it’s starting to take a toll on ya!

  3. January 26, 2012 12:23 am

    I have a “Love or Money Policy” for any work I’m considering.

    I try to pass it on to my students (and recently blogged about it at some length).

  4. July 23, 2012 12:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Katelyn Collins and commented:
    A lil’ something I wrote for the GreenRoomBlog under the pen name, The Newbie Actor…

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