“Work was never about wanting fame or money. I never thought about that. I loved getting the job, going to rehearsal, playing someone else, hanging around with a bunch of actors. I needed that, the way you need water.”
Sarah Jessica Parker – Sam Magazine, 2005
Why do some of us gravitate to the stage or screen? While those outside of the performing world might think it’s all easy and glamorous with red carpets, Oscars, and Grammys, those in the field know how incredibly hard it really is.
There are the endless classes and workshops to hone one’s craft. There are hundreds of hours in castings and auditions. There’s trying to get an agent, a gig, a record deal, a manager, often with very little pay off emotionally or financially. There is the obsessive focus on appearance.
There is the constant rejection. And when one finally gets a gig, it’s often with insane hours, difficult working conditions, awful accomodations, terrible pay, and little accolades.
Yes, there is the hope of making it big. Look at Sarah Jessica Parker. But she is the exception rather than the norm. So why do so many people subject themselves to the trials and tribulations of an unstable career as a performer?
Where does the drive to perform come from? Do we have it from birth? Is it forced on us by family members with unmanifested dreams? Is it something we just love and can’t live without?
In my work with a variety of performers, from actors at my Inner Stage™ workshops to New Orleans jazz musicians, the one commonality I have found is that most performers don’t feel they have a choice. They didn’t find the stage, the stage found them.
It’s spiritual, in their heart and soul, Higher Power working through them when they dance, sing, play, or act. And without it, they would cease to exist. The moments on stage are worth the sacrifice.
So next time you walk by a musician on the subway, go to a Broadway show, or curl up with Sex and the City re-runs, give thanks and remember that you are in the presence of something sacred.
© 2013 Valerie Simon, LCSW, PAT