The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real for it is by the real that we exist, it is by the ideal that we live

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where to begin...

You people have to be straightened out  so often and on so many issues that I can hardly keep up sometimes. 

Today I've got a whole post about the folly of supporting a pope who was apparently one of the principals in a massive cover-up that went on over decades. In an effort to pretend, which Catholics are good at, that  children weren't being molested by priests, and that "this would all go away" we were encouraged to stick our heads in the sand, like good little ostriches.  Nice try, but as with all dirty little secrets, it came back and bit 'em.

Can I indulge the little problem known as the catholic church and the ignorance of it's faithful? No!

This morning I have to talk about acting, actors, critics, and (Gods forbid) Glee.

Let's be clear, I've never seen Glee, but I get the premise. Don't understand it, but I get it.

I've been ignoring the  hubub created by Ramin Setoodeh's Newsweek article in which he said that gay actors can't play straight.  But I have to step into the fray, I can't help myself.

First question, how does one play straight?  It's not actable! I suppose to understand that statement one needs to be able to talk to actors and understand their language, but in the end you really don't.  We've all seen their work, good and bad, and we get what they're doing most of the time, knowing how it gets there isn't really the province of the masses, nor should it need to be.

I use a technological metaphor when talking to young actors.  I ask them if they've got a computer, which they all do nowdays. Then I ask if they've heard the term that a program is "running in the background."  They have, (thank gods) then I inform them that THAT is where all that acting talk should be.  "No one is coming to see you act, I tell them.  They want to see the story, they want to be entertained, they want to be moved in some way.  They do not give a shit about you and your acting.  So make it run in the background." 

Therefore, an actor whether gay, straight, trans, black, white, yellow, red, brown or purple with orange spots, should be cast in a role which they're capable of performing.  The sensibilities of the audience, whether it's a "sophisticated" New york audience, or one in Petosi, aren't, and can't be the consideration.  We as professionals (I hope) are attempting to do the best job with what we have.  Thinking about how the audience is going to react, or what they're going to think of the slightly fey actor as husband is NOT something I consider when casting.  To that kind of thinking by the audience and/or the director I say Fuck you, you should know better than that. 

As far as Satoodeh is concerned, though I contend he of all people as a gay theatre critic in New York should not only know better, but in the event he doesn't, at least  be smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it.  Alas,  he apparently wasn't was he? Was he being homophobic? No I don't really think so, and I am almost always the first one to cast that stone, but more to the point he was just being ignorant.

This is not a discussion we should even be having.  Virtually everyone knows there are gay actors.  In fact we're all suspected of being gay the second we acknowledge that we teach, act, direct, or attend theatre.  I can't imagine what it's like for my straight friends in theatre when they meet someone and tell them that they teach theatre at a college or university.

The discussions we should be having are about why an organization that has essentially been nothing more that a massive child-molestation ring for decades, probably centuries, is not only allowed to continue to exist, but to wield as much power as the Catholics do.  Why we not only allow but send to Washington time and again people who would vote to marginalize our existence by denying us such things as Tim Pawlenty's veto, over the weekend, of a bill that would have allowed GLBT citizens of Minnesota the simple right to determine the disposition of their partners remains after their death.  Why we even have to talk about the courage it takes for someone to sign a piece of paper and then hold up their right hand and swear an oath that they will fight to the death to protect this country, and the cowardice it takes to make them hide themselves while doing such a brave thing.

Don't boycott Newsweek, Aaron Sorkin is right, it' s one of the absolutely last places we can get actual  news.  Boycott ignorance.

That's our true enemy.

And so it goes:

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