Today I went to a couple of Actors Equity Open Calls. I mostly go to keep my brain and voice sharp and in the game. Like a pro athlete you have to put in the time in the field, although I would never go to one if there wasn't at least one character in the show that I would be right for. They HAVE to see me, since I am union, but I'm sure you can cheese people off by deliberately wasting their time. I have very little hope of getting called in from one. I am offer-only at a few places I've worked before, but have a hard time getting that foot in the door of places I have not worked(just like everyone else I'm sure).
Anyway I am at La Mirada, where the CD is the wonderful Julia Flores. I always appreciate the time she takes to make a human connection, especially in an open call, when folks are being pushed through the door, with 2 minutes and 30 seconds to do their stuff. I'm in line to go and the lady 2 places behind me is loudly and obnoxiously asking about a theatre in Rancho Cucamonga where they do TYA. That means theatre for young audiences, of which I have done a LOT, which has gotten me my health insurance, which paid for a 30,000 childbirth bill, which saved me from bankruptcy. I am also vested in my pension thanks to the TYA's
Yes, good lord, they are HARD! They are usually incredibly high energy, they are often early in the morning, they do not pay very well, etc. I'm sure anyone who has worked one of these contracts would agree. But this ancient red-jello hair dyed chick said, "Children's theatre??!!!" then stuck her finger down her throat and made a gagging reflex. Then she went on and on about how she would NEVER EVER do such a thing. Good, lady, don't do them. Don't have more fun than is criminally possible, don't be the FIRST experience these kids have in the live theatre, don't cry when a teenager tells you that your performance led her to want to do what YOU do. Also don't cackle when you are in line at an EPA. Instead of psyching me out, you made me so mad that I forgot to be nervous and sang great. I tell you, actors can be their own worse enemies. The picture is Maude Adams in one of the first TYA's, Peter Pan.