I have been thinking a lot about the instability of a “typical” actor’s career. The “typical” actor in a major market may or may not have representation; they freelance from project to project. An actor that craves stability may be a part of a company or troupe or perhaps they create their own content. I see myself being the former mentioned actor. I want to move from project to project creating an expansive network of connections and while also giving myself the ability to reassess my goals and progress between each bout of work.
As collaborative theatre artists, we gather our individual set of skills and talents around a single project. From the first draft of a project, it takes on a collaborative life that requires the time and effort of artists day after day. We have the privilege of diving deep into a story and in doing so we build and strengthen connections that inevitably seep from our professional endeavors into our personal lives. Then after then immense time and effort we spend with these people, we “close” or “wrap” and say goodbye. Simple as that. The project is over and our reason for consistently being in contact with one another is gone. However, we also have to opportunity to keep those connections alive. We can nourish the friendships we have made and in the strengthening of them we find opportunities to start new projects and let our collaborative art take shape again.
We also have the luxury of what I call the “artist vacation.” I think of this as the time in between projects in which an actor can reevaluate their goals and process. We have to opportunity to sit and reflect ever few months about what kind of art we want to make. We can be analytical and reflective about our career and then make conscious decisions about what to take on next. I do not know of many of professions with that freedom of trajectory. I find the instability of an actor’s career, absolutely freeing.