Let’s talk about: Safety.

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom
Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

YOUR safety as an actor. I wrote about this subject in my thesis and talked about it with my students. In the light of the horribly tragic news from Vegas, I want to share my thoughts…

Let me say first that the Cirque cast and crew are the safest and best trained in the world and that this post is not a direct response to their tragedy. It is a general call for every performer, every director, every crew member, to take their personal safety and the safety of their coworkers seriously. If an accident like this can happen at Cirque, it can happen anywhere.

That being said, I would like to challenge my fellow artists with the following:

We have all been unsafe on stage. I am perfectly comfortable as an actor, a dancer, a choreographer, a movement director and a director in stating that as FACT. We have all had inept set designers or carpenters who have said, “Oh, that beam that runs across backstage at head height in complete darkness? Oh, that’s fine, just make sure you duck.” We’ve all had directors say, “Fight choreographer? Nah, we don’t need one. Just go for it.” We’ve all had a props designer say, “Stage sword? No, I didn’t get you one, but this replica civil war era saber that I bought on ebay will work fine.” We have all had actors say, “I’ve totally taken a combat class. Yeah, like ten years ago. And it was only an afternoon, but it’ll be cool, I used to take tai-bo.”

So physical danger, that’s obvious, right? But we’ve all also put ourselves in emotional danger. We have all been in a physically intimate scene, whether it’s a love story or a violent rape, and been expected to jump right in without any acknowledgement  of the emotional and psychological danger we are putting ourselves in.

We’ve all felt uncomfortable in these situations and we ALL have, at some point, told ourselves, “Self, this is stupid. Just do it. If you don’t, they’ll think you’re not a professional or that you’re a diva or a problem actor and they won’t cast you again. Someone will tell someone else that you’re a chicken or overly sensitive and get labeled “hard to work with” and then where will you be? Just do it. Keep your mouth shut and do it. You’ll get used to it or over it and it will be fine.”

We tell jokes about it, trade horror stories, compare war wounds, measure scars.

I’m here to say, fuck that.

As an actor, YOU ARE ALL YOU HAVE.

SAY NO.

Don’t be an ass about it but make your issues known clearly and calmly. “I do not feel comfortable with (blank) because (blank) has not been addressed.” Ask to speak with your stage manager or, if you’re lucky enough to have one, speak to your show’s deputy and have them bring the issue to management.

We knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, both physically and psychologically, and we need to make sure that all steps to protect ourselves and our fellow performers have been taken.

We all need to stay vigilant and have honest conversations with ourselves and our teams to make sure every step possible has been taken to make our jobs as safe as possible.

As for what happened in Las Vegas, my heart bleeds for a lost life…a truly extraordinary talent that was extinguished way too soon. The bright lights of Vegas glow dimmer without her. May her family, her children, her artistic family, her loves fine some tiny bit of solace in the knowledge that her loss is felt by the artistic community as a whole.

Advertisements

I’ve Been Away

I’m moving, again.
So I’ve been neglecting writing. I’ve built some things and taught some classes, but very little writing.
I tried to think of someone I wanted to quote and came up empty.

So you have to suffer through another one of mine…


Bored

virgin/whore, I’m never both
never one the same
either worshiped like the eternal child
or touched with naught but shame

men splay me on their pinning board
pinned through, bare souled I’m lain
or my sweetness causes virgin thoughts
and my heat is all in vain

can’t people both make love and fuck?
I feel choosing one’s a bore
love me like the virgin please
but every now and then, the whore

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo

Semi-crummy poem by me

Photo of beautiful painting of beautiful whores by me

So Good For Me

I post poetry that others have written because I don’t like my own.
I like my prose, but my poetry always seems childish to me.

But, to thank everyone for liking my past few posts, here’s one of my own along with some art.

Be kind.

My poor attempt at being Dorothy Parker…

So Good For Me

so proud, so proud I thought myself
so proud and fit and strong
and on my pride his ass did sit
and showed me I was wrong.

how fair, how fair I saw myself
fair eyes of sparkling blue
then his wandering prick, it crooned to me
you’re used and they’re brand new.

well loved, well loved I told myself
his lies were lovable foes
I was much too plain and sad for him
I’m not the one he chose.

my dull brown hair, my pale white skin
my wit too crude and mean
I hope his brand new bouncy lass
downs a gallon of gasoline.

so now, so now I pine alone
pretending he is here
not that he was so good for me
dying alone is what I fear.

words by me
ink print by me

Shame

Shame

Th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

words by william s.
flesh by my parents
photo by me

Not Safe For Work, except my work.

I actually gave the Marat/Sade cast the homework to go home and look up The Kama Sutra online and bring in one sexual position that they had never see/heard of/thought of. I got a a lot of “YEEESSS!” On the other hand, I got a few blank stares. Oh University theatre, how I love you. I’d be strung up if this was High School. But then, any High School that would actually be putting on Marat/Sade would be asking for it.

%d bloggers like this: