To an Actor:
I need to start out by apologizing for the ignorance that I have so naively been blinded by for the entirety of my life up until this point. I have been playing soccer for nearly 16 years. My entire soccer-consumed life has been epitomized by this idea of superiority. Athletics, in my eyes, were superior to every other possible extracurricular. I am unbelievably ashamed to say that at the bottom of my list of superiority, ranging on the end of inferiority, was the world of theatre. I so quickly (and mistakenly) coined actors as insignificant and wrote them off as weird. Insignificant because athletes have to work and actors don’t even break a sweat. Insignificant because shows and musicals are irrelevant in this culture. Weird because men wear makeup. Weird because they are emotional. And weird because for some reason they are enthralled with this idea of pretending to be people they aren’t.
Put truthfully and simply, in my arrogance I have placed myself on this invisible platform of entitlement and prestige. For some reason my physical capabilities have rendered me entirely illiterate in the happenings of the actual world outside of athletics. This lie has been my inclination toward actors for too long. As the lens in which I view the world are widened and shaped, my focus narrows in on the truths that I have been missing for so long.
Let’s go back to the part where actors were (in my obliviously ignorant knowledge) insignificant and weird. Let’s just do a quick breakdown of my very-incorrect opinions: “Actors don’t break a sweat, shows are irrelevant, men oddly wear makeup, and they play pretend/dress up”
I have learned that actors do three things. They act, they sing, and they dance. Singing requires lessons- there are techniques and all sorts of things that I still haven’t discovered yet. This is all a new concept to me. And dance- dance is so hard. I have never taken a dance class, but I have been enlightened in the art and difficulty of dance class. And friends, dance class is not easy. You sweat. A lot. As much as you do at soccer practice. So my former misconceived perception of what an actor does is totally and completely invalid.
Shows and musicals are only irrelevant if you have no idea what to look for. I hate myself for ever thinking this was irrelevant. Hamilton has officially become my go-to on my Spotify playlist. I have seen every documentary on Hamilton to date. Also, I watched the Tony awards this year and they trump the ESPY awards by a lot. Shows are only irrelevant if you are completely uneducated.
Makeup is an art. They can make themselves look super old or super different. And makeup really does make a huge difference when you’re standing on a stage full of super bright lights. So no, men wearing makeup is not weird.
Emotions are incredible. God created us with emotions; He created us to have emotions and He created us to express these emotions. I’m an athlete and crying is not acceptable because it’s “weak.” But I have learned, time and time again, that crying is an incredible strength because it’s vulnerable.
And my least favorite of my uninformed thoughts on acting is the notion that actors are weird because they pretend to be someone their not. No. No. And just no. Acting is an art. A beautifully crafted art. I thought that actors simply memorized some lines and dressed up like someone else. They dedicate themselves entirely to knowing their character. Their habits, their language, their background. They completely and totally embody who their character is. The actor knows his character as well as he knows himself. This isn’t easy. It’s exhausting and difficult. And it is so, so cool.
So actors, my respect for you and what you do is tremendous. As an athlete, I am humbled by your dedication, your work ethic, your love, and your passion for the tireless hours of work that you put in to a single performance. Words cannot accurately articulate how immensely grateful I am that you have opened my eyes to a world that I would have never known; a world that I have so deeply fallen in love with. You are amazing and incredible, and to see you perform is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received. You are so full of passion, and it’s so obvious. I see it in your perfectly-animated expressions and I hear it in the fluctuation of your beautiful voice. You stand, vulnerable and fearless at the edge of a stage, pouring out all of your being. When you make your entrance, your confidence on the stage and your command of the audience is immediately felt. You take an empty space and you bring it entirely to life. You have the power to make your audience fear, hate, laugh, and cry. You take the nothingness that is on an empty platform at the front of a room and you speak and move it into a beautiful and masterful creation. I have never been more indebted to anyone else for proving me to be so very wrong.
An Ignorant Athlete