Remember that game you used to play as a kid where you would whisper into the person’s ear next to you and it would go around the circle and you would hope the original story would arrive at the end, but it never did?
Remember that game you used to play as a kid where you would whisper into the person’s ear next to you and it would go around the circle and you would hope the original story would arrive at the end, but it never did? Chinese Whispers it was called. It could always be renamed Theatre Whispers. Because people in our industry have a habit of spreading stories, and like those kids who would change it on purpose, there are people who like to embellish a story they have heard.
Last year I was returning from seeing a first preview of a big show. A friend of mine had a lead role and I saw the show and loved it. I was walking on King Street and bumped into someone waiting at the bus stop. She does a lot of theatre and is well regarded in the industry. She asked where I had been, then she said, “I’ve heard that show is crap.” I was a bit taken aback. This was the first time the show had been performed in Australia and I pointed that out, as well as the fact my good mate was a lead. There was a quick back pedal about how people talk and she should see the show herself. But how many people had bitched about the show before it was even seen by anyone?
A friend of mine just finished a show recently. The show sold a heap of tickets and reviews were very kind. But apparently backstage most of the cast would bitch about the show every night and claim that they didn’t invite anyone to come see it because they thought it was crap. Why do the show in the first place? What does that say about them as an actor or a team player?
The thing that holds this industry down is quite often from the inside. People feel the need to bitch about others and the opportunities they are getting. But I’m sure it’s been this way since Shakespeare was debuting his work. Maybe I should just stop bitching about bitching and go rehearse for something!