Monday, October 14, 2013

"How did the show go?"

Actors get asked all the time, "How did the show go?" It's nice that people ask.  I know you may be genuinely interested in me and my vocation. I appreciate it, I really do. It doesn't seem like a hard question to answer, but it is. For me, anyway.

There are so many areas of "show" that question could mean: Did I remember all my lines/blocking/props/music/choreography? Did everything go as rehearsed? Did I feel connected to my scene partners? Were there any missed cues? Was there a large audience? Did they enjoy it? Do I feel good about my performance?

"How did the show go?" seems to want a pat answer to all of these questions at once. For me, there are only two levels of performance: "I sucked," and everything else. Choice 1: black. Choice 2: every shade of gray. Both answers have a lot of information and emotion attached to them. Generally, I don't even know how it went anyway. I have no idea how to critique myself anymore. And I don't even know if that's a good or bad thing.

My inclination is to answer all questions honestly, but I don't think most people actually want to hear how the show really went, because the answer can be long and complicated and difficult to communicate. The question is usually a pleasantry, like, "Hi, how are you?" which, usually, really means, "Hi, give me a quick, small-talk answer about your current state of being, I'll respond similarly, and we'll get on with our lives." It's not that we don't care about each other, but we're busy people, and intimacy takes time.

And frankly, when you ask me about the show, I probably don't want to go into any detail anyway. Because I'm pretty much never satisfied with my work. But I can't really tell you that, because then you feel you have to give me some kind of pep talk, and that's not a necessary burden for you to have to carry.

So, "How did the show go?"

It was great. Thank you for asking.

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