Friday, Jan. 16, 2009

Acting Is Like . . .

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Earlier today I had another interview at the Off-Broadway Theatre for a January 22nd Shepherd-Express preview column. Talking with people backstage Off-Broadway is precisely the way one would expect it would be talking to people backstage . . . there are props and bits of costuming and scenery scattered all over the place . . . a few paces from a sign from a fictitious “Mitchell Field,” from Next Act’s recent Lombardi play are a pair of seats that look like they were taken straight out of a passenger airliner. I was there backstage to talk to a couple of actresses and a director about an upcoming production being staged by Next Act Theatre. The interview, as always, was interesting

Over the course of the past few months I’ve talked to a number of actors, and in the course of talking about specific projects, I’ve gotten a number of different analogies to acting. Chicago-based actress Ora Jones compared acting to golf. Rep resident actress Laura Gordon compared acting to downhill skiing. Actor/producer/director Aaron  Kopec compared acting to strapping a rocket pack to your back an pressing the button . . . in truth, acting is like none of these things. Acting is like . . . acting. It has the kind of ubiquity that skiing, golfing and rocketpacking lack. Half a century after everyone became familiar with acting through the glowing screen in their living rooms, everyone knows what acting is. No metaphors are necessary. The average person is more often exposed to acting than any other verb in history. Acting is like . . . acting.

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