I had a terrifying dream last night. I dreamt I had gotten cast in a play. That’s odd, because I haven’t done theater since before I had kids in the 80’s. Los Angeles has theatre, but isn’t exactly a “theatre” town. The reason is; you not only don’t get paid, usually, to tread the boards, you actually have to pay to act on stage in many theaters nowadays. I was actually a member of Actor’s Equity at one point, but took a withdrawal because of lack of work, that didn’t have anything to do with singing and dancing. Hmmm. Paying to do theater reminds me of how voiceover acting is nowadays. You have to pay to audition online. I still have problems fathoming that.
Anyway, I came to the first rehearsal of the “so called” play and everyone knew all their lines, were wearing costumes and speaking in perfect British accents. I hadn’t even looked at the script yet. I didn’t know a single line. I felt like a complete moron. it was pretty freaky.
As a voiceover actor, I’ve become used to always having a script in front of me. There’s never any need to memorize. I’m beginning to think I’ve lost my memorizing chops. In the studio, at least in the dubbing arena, there isn’t even a script on the stand you can hold. It’s all done with a monitor that sits in front of you, inside of the stand, that the director manipulates with his or her computer. You can’t even scratch in any notes such as “emphasize this” here.
I don’t really mind it, because I was never the type to make a lot of script notes. Before though, if a line needed to be re-written, you had to hurriedly insert it into the script. 9 times out of 10, I found I couldn’t decipher what I had written and sometimes would flub up the line a couple times. This was especially bad if the director couldn’t make up his mind, or the ADR writer was horrible and the line got changed over and over. Now the director simply edits it on computer and it suddenly appears on the screen perfectly written.
I do miss seeing Mona Marshalls sexy drawings that she’d doodle on our “paper”scripts and every once in a while I find myself trying to turn a page that isn’t there anymore.
A while back, I was asked to help a friend out by appearing in a little YouTube commercial for her drain company. I couldn’t believe what a duffus I was at memorizing the lines. I felt like I had Alzheimer’s.
Well, the nice thing is, in voiceover you always have a script in front of you even if it’s digital and unless you forget your reading glasses, (as you may need to when you’re an old fart like me) you can work until you’re at least 95. Just ask June Foray who is still going strong.
I hope someday I do decide to go back on the stage. That is, if I can ever find the time and don’t have to drive all the way to Hollywood or Burbank. I had some pretty amazing experiences in my theater life way back when. I even worked with Eugene Ionesco. (Don’t tell me you don’t know who Eugene Ionesco is) (See image at the top) I earned some major Awards for that play and Jack Nicholson and Angelica even came to see it. OK, I played a 3 year old and didn’t have to remember any BIG GIRL words but still. I did a bang up somersault and could even stand on my head.
It’s Labor Day weekend and everyone in SAG-AFTRA is tweeting for Labor. If you’re an actor or union member tweet #sagaftra #unionmember and #sagaftramember. I’m not sure if it will do much good with all the runaway production going on, but it couldn’t hurt.