Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I recently participated in a short play festival in Chicago. The theatre we performed in shall remain nameless, but there is a fun story that is not unusual to a person who spends their life in the theatre.

I was sitting wit the other actors waiting for our piece to go, we were hanging out near the area the theatre used as their scene shop to build their scenic elements for productions. In the scene shop was all sorts of scrap wood and platforms stacked up and stored - not in any disorderly fashion, but the sheer amount of wood did looks somewhat chaotic nonetheless. Out from these piles of rubble comes a squeaking. Not a mechanical squeaking or a squeak like a dry hinge, but definitely from a living creature.

It was, of course, a mouse.

We never saw our friend the mouse although he did acquire a name: Squeaky. One of the actors wondered out loud if we should tell the theatre management, but we all agreed that there was no way the they couldn't have not heard the cacophony of squeaks and had no intention of doing anything about the situation. Granted, we may have been the kings of apathy by not saying anything, but the mouse really wasn't bothering us so we saw no reason to disturb his home. He remained our talkative friend through all three days of the festival.

But in the end, this is something that actors have to put up with all the time. Run down dressing rooms with filthy sinks, freezing rehearsal halls, and dusty and dirty back stage areas are just some of the other things. These actors and designers must really love what they do to put up with these conditions for little or no pay. There is indeed a higher purpose in all of this that rules supreme.

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