Wednesday 14 July 2010

Not Coming Out To Play.

Tomorrow night I am going to see a couple of friends who are in a play. And then I am retiring permanently from going to see friends on the stage.

I find plays boring. I don't know anyone else in the industry who feels this way - everyone seems to talk a lot about 'stage and screen.' I enjoyed the play 'Blood Brothers' the first time I saw it. Aside from that, I have been utterly bored by absolutely everything I have seen on the stage. I do not like theatre. It does nothing for me. Even if it has great actors and a great story, I get completely bored.

I am friends with a lot of actors. They all act in plays. They all invite me. I feel a complete and utter disinterest every single time, yet I try to get to see many of them because I want to be a supportive friend. And to be fair - more often than not the actors are people who've been very supportive of my work.

But here's the thing. To go and see a play is, for me, a major chore. I dread the event for days, I hope and pray for a great excuse to come up. I beg and beg for the London Tube network to break to pieces only hours before the curtain is raised. Nothing.

Seeing a play in London generally means a forty-five train journey, followed by a painful couple of hours watching a play that bores me, followed by me having to wait around afterwards to tell the friend "no really, you were great, I loved it!", followed by lots of people I don't know saying "yeah, I like acting in films, do you have any roles?" followed by my friend saying "Stay for a drink, I want you to meet some actors!". Ugh, I hate it. And then I have to get another train journey home.

I like that my friends do something they're passionate about. And I like that they want me there and I also like that I can often see their great talents on the stage. But I can also see a good chef's talents in a kitchen, it doesn't mean I'm going to watch their every move for two hours. For me, going to the theatre is like being forced to watch a four hour documentary about lemonade production just because your friend Dave was the cameraman.
My friends, I love you, and I want you to succeed - but after tomorrow, I am officially retiring from coming to see you perform. But I will happily watch your film work.

Care to share?


  1. I'm curious: What makes theater so different from film? Are the performances and the stories not what draw you to films? (I'm not being confrontational, honest. Just curious.)

  2. The truth answer is: I don't know, theater just bores me.

    But if you want a theory I just made up, which may be true, it's this: I don't like performances. In a great film, you're made to believe it's real. A good actor becomes a character. Hanks IS Gump. Morgan IS Red, etc. But on the stage, y'know, you're acting with a capital A. You're performing to a bunch of people who are looking at you. You can't get away from the performing aspect, so it's not real, it still feels like a bunch of 9 year olds putting on a crap school play.

    I get touched by things that are real. Or pass for real. Like, I like my music stripped down to a piano or an acoustic guitar. I like to feel something I can believe in. The stage doesn't support that.

  3. i love plays ! i can't believe that you don't . but then again, maybe it's because you've seen way too many.

  4. I get what you're saying. Because some films DO portray real events as played out by real people, whereas with live theater it's pretty much guaranteed to always be a person pretending. If you don't go in for that, I totally get why you loathe plays. :)

    Does the same go for musicals? I mean, sometimes the fun of it all is just the spectacle and appreciating the singing. :)

  5. I don't mean real events as in, y'know, films about terrorist attacks. I just mean, y'know, even during a big Hollywood action film - the actors are likely to act like a real human being in that situation, to hold that reality. It doesn't happen on the stage.

    I don't like musicals!

  6. OH, I see. Yeah, there's a difference. I tried out for a student film once, and I felt like an idiot cause I realized I was stage acting in front of a camera. lol

  7. I think I love plays for the same reason you loathe them! Without the luxury of the close-up there is only performance; of which nuance is just one aspect (and perhaps why many film actors can't cut it on stage?).

  8. Kid, so interesting!

    I get what you are saying about the performance part of the plays turning you off..

    i have to say though, as soon as I read that I thought "wow, he must not have seen any truly good plays then".

    I live in NYC and whenever I sit down to see a piece of theatre and I don't noticed "performance" once...I know it's a good piece of theatre. Theater can be just as natural as film can be. Too bad you haven't gotten to see that yet. Trust me though, it's out there... a lot of the off broadway shows I see have been lovely in that way :-)