Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

The Secret Diary of an ICT Summer Intern: Why Stage Actors are the Best Actors

August 18th, 2014

You already know who this is, don't you?

You already know who this is, don’t you?

When you ask someone to name an actor or actress, 99.9% of the time they will name a movie or television actor. But society is forgetting about one very important type of actor: the stage actor! Stage actors are frequently overlooked, but for numerous reasons, they deserve our attention and respect – perhaps even more than movie or TV actors.

The fact that most people cannot name a single stage actor is one of the reasons why these actors deserve so much credit. Actors of the live theatre aren’t doing it for the fame – they get little attention from what they do. Stage actors can earn a modest few hundred dollars a week, while their television counterparts can receive a few hundred THOUSAND dollars per EPISODE (despite the fact that stage actors are typically the most trained out of stage, film, and TV actors).

Be careful, they're watching

Be careful, they’re watching

A lot of plays require the actors to engage with the live audience, an element that is usually not present in film or TV. Also, the idea of “just doing another take” does not exist in live theatre. If the actors mess up, they can’t erase their mistakes. They have one shot to get it right, and if they don’t, the whole audience is their witness. Because of this, it is a lot easier for an audience to judge stage actors than film and TV actors, whose mistakes are cut out of the movies and the shows. Not only is it easier to judge their mistakes; it is also a lot easier to compare them to other actors. Many of the same plays are produced by different theatres, so stage actors must always bring their “A” game unless they want to be written off as a worse actor than their counterpart in the same play at another theatre.

The lowest-paid actor in this photo earns $60,000 per episode

The lowest-paid actor in this photo earns $60,000 per episode

The live theatre is the real deal – no grand paychecks or paparazzi-ridden attention. Stage actors brave the audience armed with nothing but their talent and their passion for what they do. Their worth is determined not by money or fame, but solely by their reputation. If they can make one person in the audience feel something through their performance, then their mission is complete. The purpose of acting for stage actors is to serve the art and the people who care to experience it, nothing more and nothing less. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome.

– Milena

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