WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Place to Be

Dressing room discussion is always an interesting thing. It's funny, a little raunchy, sometimes serious, often focused on professional topics: who had auditions that day, do people have their next gig lined up, etc. etc. It's a part of the job that keeps me centered and present. The camaraderie of people doing a job they love.

In the last few days the chat in the Little Mermaid dressing rooms has been particularly focused on auditions and who is doing what with which companies next season. Or what they're hoping to do. And why. The most interesting things to me always come from the more seasoned of our crew. The actors who've been in the game for years and are still playing. Still learning. Still wanting more. And still choosing Boston. Some have made their whole careers mostly here and some have traveled far and wide. Men and Women. They've performed with Actor's Shakespeare Project, The Lyric, The Huntington, Speakeasy, to name a few. Everyone has other jobs (some pick-up work and some regular jobs) Sounds familiar right?

These actors are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s and this is still the life they lead. And this is still the town they choose. And not only do they choose it, but they see it's future. They want to stay involved, help us continue to grow. To reference one of Kenny's posts from a few months ago, most of the companies in this city are less than 30 years old, with many many being 10 years young or less. The exponential growth of solid professional work in Boston is being noted by the actors who work here. And they are staying. Could they work elsewhere? Sure. Do some of them go to New York to audition? Yes. Do they have criticisms of how the community operates? Of course.

And they sill choose us. Boston. The Hub. To quote the mighty JLD (who performed with Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgewick in The Lysistrata at the Brooklyn Acadamey of Music...making my dream of being one degree from Kevin Bacon finally come true) from a dressing room conversation yesterday "This is THE place to be."

This was so encouraging to me. And such a vote for the mission of The CoLab. To cultivate artists here in Boston and contribute to the new work being made here. It is hard to choose Boston as an actor, or artist of any kind really. It is small. It is poorly paid work (even for the union folks, our scale is small). It can feel clicky. It is competitive. It is undervalued nationally. It is poorly attended, and underwhelmingly reviewed.

But it is brave. And isn't so much of what we do as artists and performers taking risks? Don't we put ourselves out there with every audition, rehearsal, performance, waitering, retail, and temp job? Don't we choose this life and it is hard and misunderstood, but we are in love with it and happy? These actors say YES to those questions every day and lead by that example. And they choose THIS city. And I am proud to say that I do too.

Do you?

Be brave. Choose Boston. It's the Place to Be.

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