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Why They Call Us Players

February 17, 2014

If your typical work day includes spending 9-5 on a computer, your days off are weekends and holidays, and your career advancement opportunities include a bigger office and more blue-collar workers under your supervision…chances are you don’t work as a performing artist. This seems to be the“normal” everyday life of a working class American, so when people ask us, as performing artists, what we do for a living or what a typical day in the life entails, the reactions are never disappointing.

First of all, a “typical” day   world of performing doesn’t exist. It’s always dynamic, it’s always unconventional, it’s always stimulating. Then you have the work attire, which often includes some sort of larger than life outfit, period hairstyle, or downright ridiculous accessory. The schedule is crazy, with overnight rehearsals, performances every weekend and holiday, and sometimes, the need to embody multiple characters in the same day. Having that kind of excitement as a daily occurrence in your life is enough to make this career worth while, and enough to make some people’s jaw drop. The idea that you get to “be” someone different every month is simply fascinating to those who have ever only….well, been themselves. To me, it is a freedom unmatched by any other job possibility I’ve encountered yet.

But aside from these little quirks and perks of the jobs, the topper on the cake is when the real eccentric jobs come around. I asked some of my co-workers and friends to describe their jobs as candidly as possible without prefacing the fact that they work in the entertainment industry and these were some of the responses:

1.)  “I play pretend for a living”

-Actor

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

2.)  “I get paid to jump off buildings,get beat up, get shot at, and fall on my face”

-Stuntman (theatrical)

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

3.)  “Our career is playing dress up”

-A corporate events company I work for

4.)  “I get kidnapped by pirates for a living. Then I fall in love with one of them and we fight our way to safety”

-Ok, this one is me 😉

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

5.)  “People pay good money to sit and watch me make inappropriate jokes”

-Improv comedian

6.)  “My work includes spinning by my neck, hanging by my ankles, and wrapping myself up in fabric 30 feet in the air”

-Aerialist

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

7.)  “Everyday crowds fill up to watch me make a fool of myself”

-Actor/comedian

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

8.)  “I sit around until something too painful or dangerous for normal people happens, then I get up and do it”

-Stuntman (movies)

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Photo Credit: Personal Photo

9.)  “I defy gravity, nightly”

-Aerialist

Though this post tends to differ from my usual philosophical essays, advice columns, and artistic rants, I think it is of equal value. As hard as we train and as tolling as the industry is, it is of the utmost importance to step back, take in the entirety of your career….and remember to not take anything too seriously! After all, we get to play for a living, and having that kind of job description is priceless.

The Reckless Artist sig

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One Comment leave one →
  1. The College Theatre Dork permalink
    February 17, 2014 11:53 am

    YES! I love this post! Particularly #2 (although yours is pretty awesome).

    How about…I organize a village of vaginas to monologue about ending violence against women?

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