Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What sets you appart? Oh, and Descent at Theatre Passe Muraille...

This is kind of a two part post. But the two parts are related. Well, at least for me they are...

My first is kind of a question. What sets you apart from the crowd, if anything? Do you have something that someone *always* comments on? I do. And I think I like it, but sometimes it horrifies me. It's my laugh.

I have had people stop me in restaurants to comment on my laugh, I have had strangers passing me on the street turn around and say "great laugh!", I have had random people who happen to be in the audience of a play at the same time as me tell me that I should get a job as part of a laugh track or get people to pay me to sit in the audience during tapings of sitcoms, I have had actors who I know come up to me and say they want to hire me to be in the audience of a show they are in (I'm pretty sure he was joking, I never did ask for money), and tonight I had actors I don't know ask me jokingly to be in the audience every night because it was so great to have me and my laugh in there.

That's all great, right? I mean, what the hell would there be to be horrified by? It's all wonderful positive stuff, and really, come on, I'm an actor (or, at least, that's what I went to school for) so I can certainly deal with being singled out and noticed.

Ah, but there is the rub.

It isn't all great. It isn't all people ooohing and ahhhing over my laugh. Sometimes it's people turning around in their seat every time I laugh. Sometimes it's teenagers pointing and snickering. Sometimes it's old ladies harumphing loudly to express their distain. Sometimes it makes me want to crawl under my seat and I can only imagine what it inflicts on others.

But I should be clear, most of the time I'm just fine with my laugh. I am happy that people like it. I am happy that it helps people know they're appreciated. I'm happy that it evokes laughter in others. Mostly it makes me happy. I just think it's interesting that something that is such a positive can have such a sharp negative side.

And so, I did say this was a two part post...

Tonight I went to see Descent by Tom Walmsley at Theatre Passe Muraille.

I have to say, I really do reccomend this piece. The acting was great. The script was interesting. It was a healthy mix of hilarious and heart-ripping. I'm not saying it was the best piece of theatre I've ever seen, but I've seen a hell of a lot of theatre. I am saying that it would have been well worth the cost of a ticket. Of course, for me it was the cost of an extra half-hour because I volunteer (ushering) so I get in for free, it's a REALLY good deal.

Oh, right, I also said the two parts related... Here's how:

While waiting outside for my ride (aka John) the actors all came out. One of them looked at me and said "wow, it was so great having you in the audience tonight, thanks for that", which prompted another to day "OH! Are you the laughing woman?!?", which, of course, made me laugh, confirming her assessment of the situation.

And I loved it. I loved that somehow, during the play, I made a connection with these people through the fourth wall. An individual, recognizable connection. That's an amazing feeling.

And I know it from the other side too. I know that when you're on stage, if there is someone in the audience, someone you've never met before, who you somehow, for some reason, connect with, that's an amazing feeling. And I can't describe why. Part of it is knowing that they are wrapped up in the show, that you are helping to tell a story that draws them in. But part of it is somehow more viseral than that, maybe it's just a different version of "our eyes met across the crowded room...", maybe it's all part of being singled out in a crowd. Which is hilarious if you think about it, since you're on stage with what, 2, 3, maybe 4 other people? And, the "on stage" bit pretty much dictates that you 5 are going to be the centre of attention while the auditorium is dark except for the big bright lights focused on you. But still, there is something about that individual connection.

Ummm. I guess the short version of this would be: I had a pretty cool night tonight. Oh, and I laugh a lot.

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