Or What Happens When the Gods Fall
For a long time now (at least 10 years or so) one particular Seattle theatre has been my Mecca. I worship the ground it sits on. I fantasize about the day I will stand amongst the Great Talents that currently frequent the boards there. It was a partial motivation for the semi-cross country relocation. I have been training and working and improving to get to the point that I too may be among the privileged few to cross that particular proscenium. All the while I remained in awe of those lucky enough to be deemed worthy of playing with the Big Boys.
But of late, my awe has been replaced by something more akin to confusion and occasional disappointment.
In recent months, I have been 'fortunate' enough to get to see a decent amount of theatre and a good bit of that has been at the Big Houses. This has been both a wonderful opportunity to learn and, frankly, a bit of an eye opener. I somehow expected "professional" actors to achieve a level of perfection far greater than anything that I myself – or anyone I know personally - would be able to attain. I believed that "professional" actors would not be beleaguered by the scores of difficulties that we mere mortal actors face – lisps, tongues that refuse to cooperate on certain performances, the inability to walk in a straight line, performances when we just don't quite get to where we wanted to go.
I thought that these actors were somehow superhuman and that just isn't so.
I am not sure when this shift happened. I distinctly recall seeing shows at Big Fat Pittsburgh Theatres that blew my mind; that caused me to second my worthiness as a human being, much less an actor. When the performances of my college professors left me feeling so in awe that I had to sit in the theatre for long periods of time afterward because I wanted to stay in the place where "that happened."
Even when I first moved to Seattle, I saw SEVERAL shows that left me feeling enamored and star struck and completely unworthy of sharing the same stage.
Lately, however, I have felt that the performances I am seeing are totally within the scope of my capabilities. Everywhere I look, I see imperfections, vocal issues, pitch problems, muddy gesturing or worse – from the professionals. Sometimes the performances seem downright mediocre and amateurish. Was it always this way or am I just more knowledgeable now? Is it that the Gods are becoming more human or am I just attaining a higher standard within my own work and my demands as an audience member?
None of this is meant to imply that I am somehow better than the actors I witnessed. I still do not feel quite on their level, but there is a definite feeling that with the right role and right director, I COULD be and that is an odd and oddly amazing sensation.
Maybe, just maybe, Mecca is closer than I had previously imagined.