Acting Isn’t What I Want To Do - It’s What I’m Doing
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
I was recently at a gathering with my boyfriend’s family. Being in a long-term relationship, it was an occasion for his extended family to get to know me. Naturally the sentence I was introduced with was:
”Michaela is an actress.“
This would naturally lead into what I'm working on (I'm currently Robinson Crusoe at Greenwich Theatre). Now, being in a show when non-theatre people are asking you about being an actor usually prevents any embarrassment; no having to explain resting jobs or why you can't just audition for EastEnders. No laughing awkwardly when you're told you should go on X Factor (because, if you can sing, you have to go on X Factor).
But, after speaking to a lady at this gathering, talking about how I was enjoying my first experience of panto and the rehearsal process and how it's been really different to the other jobs I've done, she said to me:
”So that's what you want to do, is it?”
Hold the phone: what I want to do? As in future tense?
Even though this conversation was over a week ago, those words have been niggling at me. Like a bite that you forget about until it starts itching again.
There‘re aspects of being a theatre professional that many people with conventional working lives struggle to understand. And for many, the only actors they encounter are the A-Listers in blockbuster films. We live in a society where to be working in the arts, somehow, is still only to be aspiring
But we are not aspiring. We are working, creating, striving. Our professions, whether they meet the narrow definitions of those outside it or not, are an actuality. We are doing it. Now.