the strangest thing
January 9, 2004 05:38 PM

I was at a friend's birthday party doing what can only be described as shucking lobsters a couple of days ago. [And I don't know about you, but something about ripping the tail off of something just makes me not want to eat it - which is strange, since I really liked ripping the tails off.] I was at this friend's party, and I got into this discussion about the theatre we do with this guy. It was the strangest thing, this conversation.

The guy keeps asking us questions, one of which is "Which is more important, the script or the picture of the character that the artist drew?" or something like that. I'm wondering who is the artist? What the fuck? And I think he must be thinking that we have a picture of what actors should look like in our heads. Or maybe we make art from, you know, other art. Plays from Magritte or something.

But it comes to light that he's heard something about extras casting (I think) at some point, because he's talking about someone having a list of things they want, like height and mustaches and haircolor and other things I think they use to cast extras. So I try to explain to him that what we do is plays, and my partner even gets really simplistic and tries to tell him that it's like a movie, but the people are right there.

And then he asks where our building is (we don't have one) and is dumbfounded that we don't have a building. It's like he's switched from not having the vaguest idea of what theatre is to being convinced that we must be some sort of huge regional theatre. He just won't get that we don't have a building.

But this. This is the absolute strangest. He's asking how we get people to do stuff and do we have something written up and then he wants to know, if we don't have the list of physical traits or the script doesn't has one, then how do we cast people and we say we ask them to move around and speak and see how creative they are and whether they seem like they could learn and work well with us and he. Completely. Freaks. Out. About how it's like we're judging, we're being like God or something, and that isn't right. Because, apparently, casting extras is okay, but holding an experimental theatre audition is an affront to nature.

I have never in my life had such a hard time explaining to someone what theatre was. I mean, I'm still not sure he got the thing about movies but real people right there with the audience. I'm not at all sure. He looked either blank or really angry the whole time. I don't know if he's drug-addled, or a bit nuts, or just functions in a really, really different way.

Strangest thing.

It made me think. How many preconceptions people have about what things are and aren't, and how much these things get in way of seeing anything. Most of us don't actually take it to his extreme of seriously-are-you-all-there-or-what, but we all do it.

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