A Company Man

April 26, 2012

“They want you to be a mercenary. That way you don’t win the war. You just get to be the schlub who takes the bullets.”

I bet you like Ian McKellan. Patrick Stewart too. Maybe Helen Mirren? Yeah I bet you think they’re good. Bet you think “man if I could be that good.” What were the British drinking those years? These actors so fully formed from the womb speaking verse, already adept in meter and scansion. You’re born with talent! And England had something happening.

“Kevin Spacey is proof you can learn acting. Cause when he came to Juilliard he was hopeless.”- Val Kilmer (in the irony of all ironies maybe)

Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren were all a part of a rep company. All got practice- actually instead of MFA’s they got repetition. They got work. I went out for dinner with my Producing Director Martin Andrews. A fantastic actor. He has an MFA. But I told him- “you know you’ve gotten so good.” AN dhe has. He recently was amazing in STEADY RAIN. And he’s playing multiple roles in our company’s latest show MAYBERRY with aplomb (oh that shit is sold out, shoulda got your tickets. Wait, we added two shows! Oh never mind. Sold out too- did i mention it was about race and class issues int he Midwest. Hey Goodman, Hey Guthrie- have fun with Pinocchio!) We realized since martin’s graduated he’s done like 12-15 shows. Large roles too. And he’s gotten really really good. That ease, that relaxation with yourself, that part of you as an actor that says “stop acting, you’re interesting enough.” Somewhere in the tour of KILLADELPHIA I felt that happen. Trust in myself. To stop performing and just talk. The rest will come. The rest is in you.

Our lighting designer went to grad school with us as well and since her graduation she has li damn, I’d say 20 theater and dance shows. And her growth is astronomical. What she’s doing in our shows right now is insane. Her name is Courtney Schmitz Watson. You should hire her you big dummy.

I’ve gotten so much better as a director and a sound designer in this model. And as a performer. And I’m like “wait the company model went away? Why?”

“I did repertory theater for 12 years before I went to Hollywood. You have to learn.”- Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth on Arrested Development)

Maybes it the divide of becoming a great artist or being famous. Fame seems boring, but being great. Doesn’t that sound worthwhile?

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