Pearls Before Swine? or There is no respect for acting in our country — Jaz Dorsey , Nashville Dramaturgy Project — AAPEX

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pearls Before Swine? or There is no respect for acting in our country

A colleague asked me what I meant when I claimed that there is no respect for acting in our country. I thought about it for a minute and this is where I went in my response:

To start off with I will cite two issues that perplex me and provoked my rant.

1.) There are five astounding theatre training programs in the Music City area. When the kids graduate, for the most part, they will not be staying here. They will be heading to New York and Los Angeles and they will be doing so because everyone around them, starting with their mentors and professors, tell them that's what they have to do. Talk about brain drain.

2.) The only city in this country that promotes it's theatre scene at all is NYC. Try and have a discussion with any provincial city officials, mayor or chamber of commerce about developing a campaign to promote theatre as a tourist attraction. I can't be bothered to try and have this conversation with these fools, which is why I have created The Nashville Dramaturgy Project which has launched it's own "Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre" campaign.

3.) A smart actor gets a cell phone with a 212 or a 310 area code. I know I would if I were an actor. A smart actor wants an agent in NYC or LA.

I graduated high school from a North Carolina state mental institution, which is where I spent the last three years of high school because I was determined to be an actor. I spoke with a colleague just yesterday who was told by family that she would go to hell if she didn't stop doin' that thee-a-ter stuff.

When I worked as the Assistant to the Directors at the Alliance Theatre for a couple of months in 1980, I witnessed and overheard the treatment and attitudes of a major LORT house towards local talent that almost made me hate theatre and theatre people all together.

In Atlanta too, the attitude in those days was "well, if you were really any good, if you were really serious, you'd be in New York."

From 1990 - 1997 I ran the NYC offices of Biggs Rosati Productions and The National Theatre of the Performing Arts at 250 W. 54th Street. I took the job purely as research to try and understand the root of these issues. I was the audition monitor, administered contracts, dispersed rehearsal pay and drove my actors home after dress rehearsals in Ct. for 7 years. I was also the person from our office who attended the annual acting student showcases at Stella Adler, NYU, AMDA, etc. I know something about being an actor in New York.

And I know that you can't have that experience in any other city in this country and that's because THERE IS NO RESPECT FOR ACTORS outside of NYC (and I guess LA)

Now, to get back to the beginning of the rant - I live in a city that has 5 of the finest actor training program in the country.

Pearls before swine? You tell me.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Jaz Dorsey
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

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