Imagine for a moment that I’m an actor. I’ve had some success, a couple of films, a few regular roles in TV. I’ve taken some time out to go and see an amateur dramatics performance like I do every few weeks, in fact I often perform in these shows myself. They are a regular bunch of people, they do a few shows a week and everyone is just there because they want to be and because they enjoy it, even if it is harder than it looks sometimes and takes quite a lot of motivation to keep it up. They put in time to rehearse, to write the script, to decorate the set, to advertise the performance and then to actually perform it, and they do all of this in their spare time. They don’t earn any money from doing this but that doesn’t matter, they like the interaction, they like the social side of things and this is what they want to do – it’s their hobby. Now, I’m at the performance. It’s okay, a lot of people have put in a lot of effort, the set looks good, there are scene nice changes, lots of main characters, lots of dancing and singing, some rock songs, some classical, some ballet and some break dancing. It’s a performance based on variety and everyone has their own role within it and it comes together to perform a whole, and that’s what’s great about it. Sometimes they all perform really well, other times not quite so good, but this is dependent on a number of things - the audience, their personal life, someone hasn’t shown up this week, some have got a speaking role in a TV show so they are distracted, whatever is extraneous to the actual performance (the performance that they are there doing for free because they enjoy doing it). Tonight it’s not one of their best performances but you wouldn’t know that unless you’ve seen it at its very best when it’s lively, bright, bold, interesting and varied. So I’m sitting there and I’m sensing a malaise. I check my watch, I look around, I see some smiling faces but I also see a few who are checking their watch, thinking about other things. Normally I’d just sit there, maybe check my emails on my phone, read the paper, something like that, but not tonight. Tonight I cough loudly a couple of times and then jump up and rush onto the stage. I tell everyone to stop and look at me for a minute, I’ve got something to say, I tell them all, it’s aimed at the actors and the audience. You see, I think you can do it better than this, I say, I’d like you to try something new, maybe throw a few punches, start some fights, try and kiss the other guy, sing out of tune, try some different dance steps, run with it and see what happens, I don’t mind what it is, just take a few risks. I’m a bit bored, you see, and I think you should be better. Watch me, I say, as I show them an example of what they could do differently, a little dance, a short monologue, a scissor-kick in that guy’s nuts. Can you do that for me? I ask. Obviously you don’t have to, it’d just, you know, be quite nice. I’d appreciate it and I think the audience might too, do you agree with me audience? I tell them all of this and then I call Action, jump off the stage and wait for the performance to start again.
What do the actors do?