The Paycheck

Anyone who has worked in theatre knows that the best thing about it is the experience you get to have with the people. For years, I worked with a more professional type of actor. I say professional because they got paid. But whether you’re getting paid or not, you never get paid enough. There is never enough money to compensate you for the late nights, the memorization, the time…Among the more professional set, there is a sense of mission. A sense that, despite the low wages, we were all doing something meaningful. And you got the sense that everyone felt a call to the work. But because jobs in the theatre are sparse, there was always a competitive undercurrent.

While there is a nobility and a generosity among professional theatre artists–(some of you are openly guffawing at my use of the word “nobility”)–there is an undefinable magic in community theatre volunteers. They volunteer their time, gas money, ideas, talents, all to creating a great show! And they all do it because of love. Some people might consider this naive. But I think they understand better than most what is truly valuable in life.

As I was perusing the cast member’s online pics for crazy pics I could use in these introductory blogs, I kept coming across the cast members with loved ones. Their expressions are of genuine joy and affection. They understand what it is to be a truly happy human being.

I love that I get to spend my nights (and some Saturdays) with these magical people.

 

This is Marc Reading and his beautiful wife. I’ve been friends with Marc since we were both at Bear River High School. He has always been the first one to volunteer to help. He would go from show to show, often doing two shows at the same time because everyone understood that if Marc was in your show, he would make it better than it ever could have been. When you come to see the show, you’ll note a very important scene. I had decided to direct this scene one way, but Marc kindly made a brilliant suggestion that would make it better. And it was!

This is Mike and Mindy Hardy with their niece on her wedding day. I love this pic because you can see Mindy’s beautiful smile–and I love that in the caption their niece said that these two were her favorite Aunt and Uncle. After working with Mike and Mindy, it is easy to see how they are her favorites.¬† Mindy comes to rehearsal with a warm smile for everyone. I love that she’s playing the mean old lady Mrs. Dubose. It’s just so funny to see this warm open person play this cantankerous biddy.

This is David Bowe with his little sister. I love this picture because in almost every picture you see of David, he’s got a grouchy smirk on his face. And in this picture, with his hand rested on his sister’s shoulder, he is open and smiling. David is a talented actor and it makes me happy that he volunteers his time to come and play with us at Midvale Main Street Theatre, though when I see this picture, I’m not surprised. He gets it.

And last but not least, here’s a picture of two of my favorite people. Annie Giardinelli and Kathryn Mungin. These two have been bright lights flitting around Midvale Main Street Theatre for as long as I have been there. It isn’t just the smile they bring to others’ outside of the theatre, but this is picture of the two of them in Hairspray! and it’s clear they’ve figured it out as well.

So maybe volunteer actors don’t make much money, but there is some intangible pay off that these volunteers embrace. And then share with loved ones and friends.

And unlike money, this love, this magic, this generosity–it never seems to run out. Or if it ever feels like it might, you can just come back to the theatre and get a refill.

For your own refill, come and see To Kill A Mockingbird at 7711 S. Main (700 W), Midvale. Visit www.midvaletheatre.com for tickets. Tickets are only $10. The show opens next Thursday, Feb 16th. Remember our showtimes are earlier than most (7pm)–because we have Qwik Wits every Friday and Saturday night at 10pm.

Posted by: Eve Speer

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2 Responses to “The Paycheck”

  1. Michael Bahr Says:

    i know exactly what you are talking about. I love my professional work, but there is a magic when a group of artists come together who are plumbers, welders, lawyers, retail clerks and auto mechanics. There is no sense of entitlement. There is just sheer joy in the work. I love all the artists which I work with, and its lovely when we can earn our livings in the pursuit of an ideal. I don’t want to cheapen the sacrifice made by working actors, But I wish, after contract negotiations, or whining about rehearsal schedules, or primadonnic frustrations at mundane realities that a group of artists can see the magic that sheer joy, blood and sweat can bring.

  2. Mindy Hardy Says:

    Oh, this blog brought tears to my eyes. Luv you Eve, you are a great director and I have deep respect for you as a director and as a person. Thank you for the opportunity of being in this wonderful show. I love doing theatre and it is so great to be back in the theatre family. I feel at home when I am on the stage, doing this is who I am and I don’t want to lose that closeness the theatre ever again, thank you for the wonderful things you said about me.

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