Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lights, Camera, ...

I don't know how many years ago it was when I first felt the internal friction of being "typecast." Someone is clearly scrutinizing your suitability to play a particular role in a play of his or her own authoring. It may be a comedy, a drama, a romance, a tragedy, or anything else. The opening may be for a hero, a villain, a lover, a best supporting actor, an extra, or even for someone who will simply die well when run through in Act III. Now none of this is necessarily bad, per se, particularly if you want to play that role! After all, you may have been waiting all your life to have just the perfect playwright apply for the job of making you a star...

The most clear reflection of all of this for me was the job hunt, where it's the labor categories and billets on one side of the hall, the resumes and suits on the other, and the dance has already begun. Over the years and with all of the accumulated experience, I became something more complicated--though I might prefer to say "nuanced" if it was my choice--as the labor categories became more simplified and restrictive. The machine was looking for cogs, and I was not a cog. Yes, if the lighting was right and you tilted your head and squinted just so, you might see a cog--but I was not a cog, and eventually you'd realize that--if for no other reason than I would tell you so. After all, that's what "I am not a cog!" does--it transmits that message constantly...

Switching metaphors one more time, the next link in the "square peg versus round hole" chain would have me trying to explain that, not only am I not a square peg, but I'm not even a peg at all! It is, after all, a valuable realization to see that what you are is not defined by anyone else, no? And maybe it wouldn't hurt for you to realize that I'm even more than what you're asking for... but here's the issue: a not-a-peg doesn't satisfy a round hole either.

So now you're an actor again--a starving one at that--now playing the role of the uncompromising, "authentic" human being... which is to say you are playing the role of someone who is not acting. This is quite the dilemma! We have to ask: Is there any role can you possibly adopt to free yourself of being an actor? 

See if you remember studying this line when you wake up in your next role.

... aaaaaaand Scene!
Post a Comment