Today, one of the things on my to-do list was to organize all of the files in my ‘Downloads’ folder. It may seem like an odd task to some people, but I download a lot of attachments and images onto my computer from email every day, and most of them are very important to keep track of! Usually, the documents I am downloading are pdf’s of playbills or print ads or photos of actors. As I was going through the multitudes of photos, I came across a particular actor’s head shot and immediately following was a photo of her in one of our productions. Now, I’ve always been aware that actors are chameleons, but today it struck a chord with me just how different this actor looked in those two photos.
When we are doing a new production, the actors arrive for rehearsals and jump into a new persona. For 8 hours a day or 8 shows a week, they get to be someone different. They move differently, they dress differently, they have a different hair style, and they speak differently than they would in any other situation. They take note and reflect every minute detail about the character they are playing. And when the lights go up on Opening Night, they have transformed into someone else entirely. How cool is that?
I have never wanted to be an actor. I have terrible stage fright and I am much happier working behind the scenes, but I am a bit envious of the connection an actor makes to a production while they are working on it. They live inside someone else’s skin and get to see the world through a character’s eyes for a few hours each day. That person can be a multitude of things, and it must be an amazing experience getting to see their little sliver of the world. Being able to be a chameleon must be pretty amazing.