Saturday, July 13, 2013


Well, will you look at this.

In case you didn't notice the little yellow link on the word "this" or the big red headline of the corresponding article, I will rewrite it here:



Julia Langbein, I bite my thumb at you, madame.  Your admiration of the Back Room Shakespeare Project is perhaps well-deserved, but wherefore the abatement in your article?  Let me shove thy nose in it:

"Average pay for a principal at one of the big theaters like Steppenwolf or the Goodman—and very few people get these roles—is about $800/week.  So if you are always working at the top of your game all year round in Chicago you top out at just over $40,000^, and that's if you are playing the plummest role 52 weeks of the year."

Well, Madame Langbein, let me retort as quickly and simply as I can (for I must shortly surrender this library computer):

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.  Are you familiar with this expression? I can't remember where it came from, but you, my dear, should heed its warning.  You see, there is a powerful play going on, and we (the actors among actors) have made you an unwitting fool!  "Nobody Gets Famous in Chicago."  Please.  Who told you that?  Why, the actors themselves, of course!  And why?

Simple.  It's a necessary piece of our throughline.  In other words, we fabricated it.  We created it through decades of our willingness to work for free, through moon after moon of compromise, through carefully training ourselves to see our work as just a hobby and allowing ourselves to be rankled accordingly.  Now, by not valuing our own art, we have almost managed to reach bottom.  Which is exactly where we want to be

Unclear?  Let me elaborate.  

We (the actors among the actors) aren't being held down at all; rather, like one angling his legs before a great leap, we are flexing, preparing for the great heights of the big time!  The grumbling you are hearing is the precursor to a storm, madame, and what a great thunder will sound when we finally explode upward, shattering the glass ceiling of not just Chicago theatre^^^, but theatre everywhere, and raining change upon the masses!  

But in order for that crackle to satisfy completely, we must allow that rondure of adversity to germinate.  We must assure that when we choose to leap, we will make not only a great noise, but the greatest noise ever heard.  We're not after a whimper here, Madame.  We're after a BANG!

So the next time an actor claims to you that he should be paid more, assume he is giving you lip service.  Remind him that he's part of a greater play, and that he isn't the lead this time.  Remind him of the value of humility.  Remind him to genuflect, that his craft is a form of worship*, and that one day the meek will inherit the earth**.  Then, ask him to put his money where his mouth is.  

. . .

By the way, I will be memorizing this entry in its entirety and performing it (for free^^) in Lincoln Park on Monday, July 29.  Please come so I can pay my rent.  (For updates, join my "like"-rs.  Anon!)

^ 1099 income, which means your take home is something more like $32,000
^^ I will accept donations
^^^ which, as somehow reclaiming our status in the world, we are tedious about spelling with a pretetious "-re"
* Average minister's salary in the US: $86,500
** BANG!