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July 11, 2010 / Amy Bradney-George

All the world’s a stage..?

Tomorrow marks three months for me in Vancouver, and in that time I’ve met a lot of people in the creative industries. As an actress, a lot of them have been in the film industry, and a lot have become friends. Not so many of those friends are actors.

What I’ve realised is that other actors can be jealous, selfish, judgmental people who welcome their fellow actors with crocodile smiles (and I’m from Australia so I know a croc when I see one). I’ve talked about this with a few people here, and it’s not just me who sees it – another actress from overseas has said the same thing, and local actors have said they don’t bother trying to make friends at the risk of being stabbed in the back.

The thing is, this isn’t a localised thing. When I think about it, a lot of the actors I have met have sported friendly masks that take a lot of effort to maintain (lest they become transparent). It makes me wonder what happened to them. How did they become so close-minded? And where are the actors who value community, collaboration and support from their peers? Is jealousy the root of all this false friendliness?

My second month here, I met an actress from Australia who, desperate for work, first rudely interrupted my casual conversation with a writer, then later approached me to interrogate me about my direction. How long had I been in Vancouver? What classes was I taking? Why wasn’t I taking classes? Where did I go to acting school? How long was my degree? What other training did I have? Did I have an agent yet?

It was overwhelming, but I managed to answer all of those question and I was happy with my answers. She, on the other hand, was not. She went on to tell me I would never make it here unless I did classes, carefully approached agents and, oh, lost my accent. According to her I would never make it with my accent. So far I have had doors (literal and metaphorical) open for me, partly because of my accent. Sure, in an audition I’ll happily switch to an American/Canadian accent, but in real life? I’m not going to lie about myself.

So when this interrogative, negative actress suggested I contact her for “help and advice”, I politely declined the offer. Who needs that kind of unsupportive discourse? The actors I am friends with are people who share their dreams and support one another before and after auditions, rehearsals, screenings and performances. Not people who try to drown out your dreams with snide questions and subtle insults.

A friend of mine here has explained all this by saying that some actors are so competitive, and so insecure, that they can’t help but backstab other actors who seem more confident or comfortable with their abilities and actions. But do they think some actor they meet once, in a city with thousands of actors, is going to come in out of the blue and steal all their roles, despite having a completely different look, personality and life experience?

If all the world’s a stage, why can’t we share it? Maybe, at least to these actors, all the world isn’t a stage. But if that’s the case do they really think it is better to live in a staged world?

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One Comment

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  1. kelly / Aug 13 2010 12:25 am

    hi…. fail on their behalf… 😦 hope everything is going well…i’ll email you tonight!!

    😀

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