Magazine article Stage Directions

Great Expectations

Magazine article Stage Directions

Great Expectations

Article excerpt

. . .Or, what I dismissed.

To my memory, I've only turned down a part once. It was at Playwrights Horizons, when I was studying acting there. They needed actors to help out some of their playwrights in a staged reading. With the best of synergy, they held auditions - playwrights, directors, actors, all learning together how to work through the process. I went, read, and was offered the part of the disaffected, surly teenage son. I forget everything about the play, except 1 didn't think it was very good (it was a first reading, what did I want?) and even more than the script, I remember being absolutely unimpressed by the actors I read with. Yeah, who knew, an actor who thinks he's better than everyone else? Stop the presses! I remember I was appalled that one actor didn't know how to pronounce Austria-Hungary. So I turned down the part. I gave some excuse about not being able to fit rehearsals around my work schedule. It was close enough to the truth to work, but still just an excuse. I have no idea what happened to that play, but I do know what happened to other artists 1 dismissed.

I used to volunteer a lot at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. This was when I was working with computers for a few years and volunteering was my only connection to practicing theatre. So 1 saw a bunch of troupes and performers, several of whom I dismissed as absolutely talent-less after seeing their acts. But I remembered their names, and saw them year after year at the fest. …

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