Actors are very backward things in many ways. Not only do they spend their lives pretending to be people they aren’t in front of an audience of people who know full well that they aren’t, but will applaud louder the better at lying the actor is – they also, if they’re anything like me, LOVE Mondays.
This is the real reason why no-one trusts an actor. How can a person be so disgustingly perverse and still expect to be treated normally by the rest of society? If anyone ever needed proof that actors are dangerous, irrational deviants (does anyone?), this is it. It flies in the face of all that is sacred to the modern age. It won’t be long before the Daily Mail gets wind of it and starts a witch hunt. Especially seeing as I’m told its editors are avid fans of this blog.
If I may tentatively raise my voice above the growing clang of pitchforks, I’d like to explain. You could take this time to spell-check your home-made banners if you’d rather not listen (‘freaks’ has an ‘A’ in it). We love Mondays because we hate weekends. Wait, OK I know that’s worse, just hear me out!
The only reason why we stay in this godawful industry is because we are hooked on the unpredictability of success. Whereas in a normal job, you can usually expect to do well if you work efficiently and manage not to set fire to the photocopier, such predictable career progression is denied to actors. For us, success dangles, totally out of reach but in full view, from a high branch that occasionally bends low enough to grab onto whenever there happens to be a strong breeze. It’s painful, exciting and addictive.
Thus, actors despise weekends because it means guaranteed radio silence. No surprise phonecalls from the director of that fringe show you auditioned for months ago and deliberately erased from your memory because you forgot the word ‘characterisation’ in the interview and had to say “characterful…ness” instead. No emails out of the blue from casting directors, no letters from agents, not even a Snapchat selfie from your headshot photographer. Of course, radio silence is what we get all week too most of the time, but weekends are the only time when we know the wind won’t blow, and it is an absolute crushing certainty that the dangling branch will evade our grasp for two whole days.
Now, imagine that once a year, the weekend lasts for a month. You may remember me whinging about December being the theatre industry’s nap time, when it’s so exhausted by 11 months of mwah-mwahing that all it can muster for a month is panto. Well, imagine the extra joy heaped onto the New Year’s Eve countdown for every actor as they tick away the bleak midwinter of December and watch the beautiful Monday-flavoured dawn of January rise over the horizon. The wind picks up and the branch begins to sway again. We emerge from our darkened bedrooms, wearing the disintegrated rags of our old costumes now withered with age. Our makeup-caked faces crack into a weak, wet smile as we tear open an envelope and pull out our shining 2014 Equity diary, smelling new hope on every page. We may be denied the gratifying pleasure of weekends that other people enjoy, but when being an actor means being able to find joy in the cold, bleak, fat, poor, post-Christmas, ages-til-spring month of January, I wouldn’t change it in a month of Sundays.
Photo by Flickr user Dan Moyle under a Creative Commons licence.