The Things Actors Do...

The Things Actors Do...

A Glimpse Into The Trials Actors Face To Tell A Story
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Some of life's biggest moments are portrayed onstage from birth to death. For the average person, the idea of a make out session with someone you've just met in front of a large group of strangers seems really daunting, but for an actor, it's all in a day's work. These onstage experiences are something we actors often forget are not a part of a non-actor's life. As an actor, I often find myself pushing the boundaries of normal behavior because my embarrassment threshold is very low when it comes to being the center of attention.

For example, I am currently in a directing class intended for English majors who may need to run theatre programs for youth when they become teachers. In the class, some of us serve as directors while the rest make up the actors, which of course rotates per exercise. Since we are performing about one-minute scenes, not very many crazy out there things can happen, but I was surprised to find some fellow students timid to read lines from the script with the intended emotion.

For many of them, this is their first real theatre class, so of course, shyness is expected, but after spending two years in the theatre department, I forgot that not everyone is as comfortable as us with getting up there and baring our heart to the world.our heart to the world.baring our heart to the world.

While directing my classmates in scenes, I've found that opening them up to becoming comfortable while performing is a much larger part of the process than it is during my other acting classes, and it got me thinking about all the crazy things I've done and seen done onstage that most actors don't think twice about.

Beginning with kissing, I've personally kissed seven different people for onstage purposes, including some that were just for a scene in class, or during an understudy run. But they're all fake, you say! No, actually. I've only done a staged kiss with one of those seven people, because, on the whole, most actors, in my experience, prefer a real kiss because it looks more authentic and helps to establish the relationship in a more realistic way.

Is it awkward? Of course, it is the first few times! Especially if you're an understudy and you have to just go for it because it's your one shot at practice! But kissing is simple compared to some other things we are asked to do.

Marriage is another common occurrence in theatre. Everything is there from the dress to the witnesses to the ceremony itself. It kinda takes the magic out of waiting for your special day when you get "married" five times a week for nine weeks. And along with marriage comes children and that manifests itself in many forms onstage from pregnancy tests to labor.

Currently in "American Idiot," my character faces an unexpected pregnancy from the moment she finds out and has to tell her boyfriend, through the baby bump, all the way to carrying around two separate baby dolls around stage who are just as much my scene partners as my fellow actors. I have played characters who have had babies before, but this show marks my first time wearing a baby bump, and to be honest, it took some getting used to, but as with everything in theatre, your character overwhelms your own feelings and you become one with how your character feels about their situation.

On the topic of children, sex is another big moment shown on stage. With every passing year, more and more shows show nudity, stripping, and sex onstage, for example, "Heathers the Musical" where two characters have sex while singing a song and two other characters also strip onstage in the hopes of getting lucky themselves.

Which finally brings me to one of the most questionable onstage actions, rape. I have personally auditioned for a show where I had to say whether I was comfortable performing in a simulated rape onstage.

I wasn't in the show, but watching that scene was not easy. And it brings me to the ethical question of what you personally are comfortable with doing onstage from cussing to simulating rape. How far are you willing to go to tell the story?

At the end of the day, reflecting on all of the crazy things I've seen and done onstage it seems bizarre that people pay to watch actors live some of life's most personal moments. But I can't imagine my life any different because, at the end of the day, I love what I do, and what I do to tell my characters' story to the audience.

Cover Image Credit: James Ramirez

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15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up

No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother.
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Despite the fistfights and days of locking each other out of the house, a little brother is one of the biggest blessings you can receive. Most sisters can agree that they probably bossed their brothers around a lot when they were younger (and probably still do). Most sisters have also most likely forced their brothers to participate in many games that were only enjoyable for one party (baby dolls, house, dress up, etc.)

As a little brother grows up, you start to realize a lot of things as they become your lifelong best friend. Here are 15 of them:

1. He will outgrow you

Even though you were once able to beat him in a wrestling match, and have a fair game of tag, as you get older, he begins to pass you up in size and you realize it probably isn't in your best interest to pick a fight.

2. Teenage boy sass is a real thing

So many times, girls get a bad rep for the teenage phase, but let me tell you, teenage boys have just as much sass if not more than the average hormonal girl. But you also realize that you will get through it, and he is still your sweet brother somewhere deep, deep down.

3. He will go through a phase when he is too cool for you

Your whole life you have been used to your little brother looking up to you and wanting to be just like you and do all the things you do. This probably really annoyed you at some point too and I know I found the words "stop copying me" coming out of my mouth a lot. Don't wish it away, enjoy these times because there hits a point where he will want to do their own thing for a while.

4. He will begin to form his own opinions, and he is actually really smart

He still looks up to you, but there comes a time when he actually starts to contradict and challenge your opinions, and his arguments are surprisingly really good. You learn a lot from your little brother, so start listening to what they have to say sometimes.

5. No girl will ever be good enough for him

When he brings a girl home, you can't help but judge everything about her (no pressure) because to you, no girl will match up to his awesomeness. You know you are annoying, over-controlling, and overly judgmental, but you can't help it, he is your baby brother after all.

6. Regardless of how old or big he gets, if anyone messes with him, you will "beat them up"

I am not a fighter, but somehow anytime someone messes with my little brother, I get the ego of Muhammed Ali and believe that I can beat anyone up. Even now that he has outgrown me by about six inches and 50 pounds and is definitely a lot stronger than me, I still threaten to protect him because for some reason I feel like I can defend him better than he can himself. If anyone shoves him on the soccer field or says something mean to him at school, all of the sudden the big sister is the most intimidating and feisty little 5'4" girl there is out there.

7. He has your back

The once quiet and shy boy you outspoke as a child is not afraid to stand up for you. Even if he knows you're wrong, he is just as protective of you as you are of him and he will always be there for you whether you need a shoulder to cry on, you've had a fight with your friends and need someone to talk to, or a guy blows you off and you just need dairy queen and a movie night.

8. People will think he is your boyfriend and vice versa

As little kids, you were obviously the big sister, but now that he has outgrown you, hit puberty and matured, people mistake him as your boyfriend all the time. When you go to dinner and get the "you are such a cute couple" comment, you can't help but laugh.

9. All of his academic success is obviously all thanks to you

All the days you forced him to play "school" with you and tried to teach him everything you knew paid off because he actually knows what he is doing now. You're welcome.

10. Every year he turns another year older, you freak out because you remember how old you felt when you were his age, and it is not possible for him to be that old

No, no, no. He is little. He cannot drive just because he is 16. That is scary. [Only you were mature enough and ready to drive at 16.] There is no way that he is already 18 and can vote. You will never get used to the fact that he is growing up at the same pace as you are.

11. He is the one person who defies your theory that you are never wrong

He always has your best interests in mind, so if he disapproves of a guy, or questions a choice you are making, he is most likely right, just listen to him. Seriously, it will save you time in the future.

12. You will always worry about him

Yes, you are annoying and you know he can handle himself, but the thought of him ever getting hurt kills you. Every time he goes out or takes a risk, you worry about him. However, you also know and trust that he is smart and makes good choices, and if he ever doesn't, you will always be here to save the day, duh!

13. You are his biggest fan

And you are absolutely obnoxious at sporting games and other events. You are the first person to yell at the referee when he gets fouled and the loudest person screaming when he scores a goal. You also find yourself bragging about him to your friends because you are just so proud, and you taught him everything he knows (duh again).

14. He is your best friend

You can tell him anything and he can tell you anything. You guys have a pact and he won't tell your secrets. He's your person, and you have come to find out that he actually gives great advice when you give him the chance to talk.

15. No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother

No matter how old my brother gets, we still say "I love you" every night and he will always be my little baby brother who I watch over and protect, always. I know I have a lifelong best friend who I can lean on during hard times, and celebrate with when the times are good. Bless up.

Special shoutout to my baby brother, Luke, for teaching me so much about myself and always being there for me.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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10 Reasons Going Home From School Is The Best

Because we all need these things every now and then

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Sure, everyone can agree that they have being away from home to attend college, but everyone also can't deny that they love these things about coming home.

1. Home cooked meals

This one explains itself. Everyone needs to stray away from that dining hall food every now and then.

2. Laundry

If you’re lucky, your mom will do this for you when you come home.

3. Pets

Leaving them to go off to school is possibly the worst heartbreak, so you can imagine both of our excitement when we reunite.

4. Hometown friends

College friends are great, but nobody can compare to the people you grew up with.

5. Your own bed

Because sleeping in a twin bed every night in your dorm gets old real fast.

6. Your car

Sure, taking a bus around campus and the city can be nice sometimes, but nothing’s better than the freedom associated with driving yourself around.

7. Sleep

No one is around to keep you up at all hours of the night.

8. Having your own space

If you’re lucky, this means you don’t have to worry about not getting any time to yourself because you finally have your own room again.

9. Letting loose

You don’t have to worry about all of the responsibilities of being an adult that come with being away from home.

10. Groceries

Nine times out of ten, there's something always there at home to snack on, and you don't have to worry about leaving your dorm to fend for yourself when you've run out of snacks.

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