Thursday, March 29, 2012

10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Ruined My Life

I was a theatre major in college.  An acting major to be specific.  I got an actual degree, well, a B.F.A. anyway, in ACTING.  I was advised not to do this by everyone from my high school English teacher to the director of our community theatre to my parents.  But, I wanted to.  And, I still don't regret it.

Yesterday I had writer's block.  I was wasting time on Facebook when I noticed that three girls I know from college, all actresses, had posted in a row.  I had this thought, Wow, they're all so pretty and such cool chicks.  And, they are.  None of them work in theatre now.  What they have in common is that they spent their college days in a round building with a moat around it memorizing monologues and lines and dance routines.  They've all sorted through headshots and agonized over which outfit to wear to an audition.  They've done shows when they were sick and they've done shows on no sleep.  They've run lines in public bathrooms until their heads were spinning.  They're just like me.

Ultimately, I loved being a theatre major even though I'm not an actress anymore.  But, there are several ways my major screwed me up royally.  There are several ways I'll never be the same.  10 to be exact.  And, so, for my lovely SWT friends, 10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Ruined My Life.

1) A couple of times a week, I have a variation on the same nightmare.  Either it's opening night and I forgot to memorize my lines or I'm all of a sudden on stage in a corset but I don't know what play we're doing and no one will tell me.  It's a really fun nightmare, you guys!

2) In the theatre building, everyone's a freak so you fly your freak flag a little higher for attention.  As an adult, I can't stop flying mine.  I'm sure the checkers at my grocery store are sick of the drunken "Poor Yorick" routine I do with heads of lettuce.  I'm sure my friends are sick of seeing me in messy black eyeliner.

3) I have a constant craving for karaoke or any game involving charades.  In other words, I have a constant craving for you to LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!

4) I have no real life skills.  I can memorize lines, I know what "deus ex machina" means and I can write a whole show's worth of blocking in a secret language only I can decode.  But, none of those things look cool on a resume.

5) I can't watch a movie, a commercial or a television show without noticing the "acting."  Plays are the worst.  But, I have to go see plays all the time because I was an acting major and all my friends are actors and if I stop seeing live theatre I fear my soul will die.

6) I'm too dramatic.  I can make myself cry because I dropped a sandwich or it's cold outside or Pluto isn't a planet anymore.  I will bust out a tearful monologue about how my husband shouldn't have put up my water glass because I wasn't done with it yet.

7) I constantly get songs from random musicals on my mind.  I'm always remembering a weird line from a play I was in.  I sometimes need to perform the dance number from that one show I did that one time in the kitchen at midnight.  It's exhausting.

8) I am 100% incapable of taking a regular photo.  When you're a theatre major, you have to take headshots and promo shots all the time.  At parties, you and your friends are always trying to one up each other with the dumb faces.  So, now, in photos, I either look uncomfortable, insane or like a plastic newscaster.

9) Sometimes when I'm having a conversation with someone, I cheat out so the "audience" can see me.  Then, I catch myself, go home and hit myself in the face repeatedly while doing vocal exercises in the mirror.

10) When people ask what I majored in at college, I have to say, "Theatre."

Aaaaand, scene.