“You must be an attention seeking extrovert to get up on stage in front of all those people!” …How many times have I heard that comment just because I am involved in the theatre. What a terrible misconception. Throughout my 30+ years involved in Musical Theatre, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the people I know that might match that description.
Yes, there are a few OTT crazy extroverts out there and yes, when I am Directing, I often put on a larger than life persona in the rehearsal room to get the best out of my cast but that doesn’t mean I am always like the Duracell bunny or that being more confident and loud is the real me. In fact, most people involved in this hobby that I know are quiet, a little insular and even shy. That doesn’t mean we can’t put on a performance. It’s the ability to take on another role or to live inside someone else’s skin that allows you to stand in front of an audience as the character you are portraying not as your real self.
Age, however, is a relative factor, the young often are more exuberant and confident and may display more outlandish behaviour but that is about being young not being a ‘show-off’ actor
If we were all crazy extroverts, then why would so many actors struggle with stage fright? Of course, everybody is different, and I agree most people take to the stage because they do like some measure of recognition for a good job done but isn’t that the same of any profession it’s just with actors that it comes as applause.
For those who step up to take on principal roles there is an added responsibility to do a good job for the rest of the cast – and let’s not forget if you make a complete mess of it – the whole audience witnessed it – so however much you might be the life and soul of the party off stage, it’s hard to disguise disaster on it.
In my experience those who make a big show are often those with the least talent, they are fuelled by ego and a need to be noticed. Obviously, there are rare individuals who exhibit both, but these are a very small minority and usually uber talented too. Let’s face it not everyone can live at 100 miles an hour in full performance mode all the time – because it’s just too exhausting. Most of the most talented performers I know are relatively quiet and just get on with it.
So, don’t make us out to be crazy, self-indulgent, self-obsessed ‘lovies’, we just love the theatre and being involved in its magic and for most of us – that is enough.