In my childhood, I allowed myself to be slandered in a way. People referred to me by names that are not my own, like "Michael," "Mike," or even "Suzie.* " As soon as I realized I was going to be Famous (soon), I shook loose those wretched pseudonyms and respond now only to "John Michael Manship." All Fame begins with pretension, and what's more pretentious than using your first, last, and middle names?
Likewise, I've now stopped referring to myself as an actor. Actors are a dime a dozen and pursue a lonely, solitary, near-sighted lifestyle. Actors only know how to act; I am much more diverse. (A man who goes by two names must also have at least two vocations.) As such, please only refer to me as a "writer-performer" and never as an actor.
And I'm not afraid to write in one city and perform in another. And I'm not afraid to do it at the same time. See how "writer-performer" I am? An actor would whine about being in two places at once, but it does not intimidate John Michael Manship, the writer-performer. He brags about it!
Last night, at the same time 15 actors in Boston were acting out a story I co-wrote and singing brilliant tunes like The People on the T and Letters of Grievance, I was performing in a show here in Chicago. I performed as a drummer, a glitter fairy, a cat, a samurai, and a beach-goer. And I sang, too, thank you very much.
But let's not compete. Let's mend fences. What do we all have in common? Both the actors and I, the writer-performer, acted and performed during what we in the biz call tech week. It's a sort of mini-hell created by technicians and directors because they're jealous that they can't get on stage themselves. To get their revenge, they force actors and writer-performers alike to stand still for long periods of time, to be quiet, and to stay focused--while knowing full well that both actors and writer-performers are incapable of all three of these things!
Yes, tech week is a rough time for the histrionic types. But last night, 15 actors and a band and two directors and a choreographer and a fantastic team of designers and technicians got through one. Together.
And so did I. Both of me.
Tech week? Please.^ I'll take two.**
* Those were dark days.
^ Also, some more italics, please. I'm all out.
** As long as one of them doesn't actually require me to be present.