Friday, July 15, 2011

How Do Flowers Blossom?

I can tell you with absolute confidence how they don't blossom, and that's by standing over them and screaming the living daylights out of their little heads.

No one could accuse me of having a green thumb. I regularly kill plants with too much water, not enough food, or who knows how much light....A rose takes one look at me and folds its petals inward. I don't have a gardening talent, but at least I know I'm not malicious.

Ask any actor who has made a career in the theatre if they've found themselves directed by a neurotic, bellowing sicko and you're going to have to pull up a chair, pour a hot toddy and settle in...'cause you're gonna hear the tales.

Vicious lunatics with power can be located in many professions. No doubt doctors in residency can cite their examples. Novice engineers may have similar experiences. Much drama has been recounted in the stories of law students sunk deep in the cruelty of their professors.

I know showbiz and I can tell you firsthand that crazed wingnuts are a dime a dozen, and that I've never, ever understood their logic (or lack thereof).

It is an actor's job to walk into a rehearsal hall prepared to dig, unearth, and jump stage left to stage right, and to do this all with her heart on her sleeve and a readiness to spill her guts on command.

You have to really, really need to do this in order to walk into said rehearsal hall vulnerable and willing to over and over again strip down in front of strangers.

If someone could explain to me how, in the face of such courage, that flower of an actor is supposed to open petal by petal while being humiliated, I would love to hear the reasoning.

A human being gutted of dignity will fold inward.

How does an actor get up the next day and return to work?

It happens. They do show up and again they try to please because they are courageous and need to do their work as most people need to breathe.

I've been in rehearsal when a director asked an actor, "Show me your Equity card. I want to see it. Show it to me because frankly, I don't believe you're a professional."

I've heard a director shriek, "Get off this stage! Go, go...get out of my sight and don't come back until you have something, anything interesting for me to see!"

The worst is a sly chuckle, shared with sycophants, followed by eye-rolling and the bitter sarcasm of, "What are you supposed to be? Is that your idea of good work? Is that how you interpret character?"

Maybe this is why Shakespeare armed so many of his actors with swords and daggers.

Who could blossom under such a light? Who should?

Dear Anne,

My threater is ruined they shot a cannon and it blew up on the hay. Tell the kids I'm coming soon.
—Mark, 5th grade

flower photo from Nicu's Photoblog

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