Takin’ It to the Streets

May 1, 2012

Many scholars believe modern day theatre and film are actually the children of archaic street theatre. Theatre, as we know it, has its origins in ancient Greek rituals and festivals. As early as the 6th century, poets and dramatists were performing by the roadside for citizens on their way to athletics contests, political events, and even weddings and funerals. These performances transformed and transmogrified into classic Greek tragedy and comedy–the paradigm of modern cinema and dramatic arts. Even as a guy named Willy Shakespeare was honing the art form to a whole new level of expression, actors were still taking to the street to express their most revered stories and their most heated passions.

There are many reasons why an actor or troupe will gravitate to the street as opposed to a traditional theatre or media space. Politically incendiary material or outrageous social perspectives many not be accepted or funded readily through traditional channels. It may be the strictures of an indoor setting are too confining for an expansive production. Or it could just be that the street affords a much more unabashed and raw milieu to invoke the spirit of any passion play.

But the thing that’s so exciting about street theatre for up-and-coming actors is it gives you a chance to perform! Isn’t that why you’re in the game? You want to express yourself through the medium of your very own voice and body and spirit. Yeah, money and fame will be nice, but don’t you just want to show ’em what you got? Here’s your opportunity. While your friends are making excuses and complaining about nepotism, money, contacts, and every other excuse known to mankind, you could be out there knockin’ ’em dead with your energy, your talents, and your chutzpah. When auditions are slow, take it to the street. Agent just dropped you? Take it to the street. Can’t seem to get a foot in the door? Hit the streets! What better way to test your mettle and hone your courage than to perform with no playbill, no red velvet curtain, no permission, and no parachute! Terrifying, right? But what could be more challenging and more invigorating?!  Robin Williams learned early on if he could move passersby on the sidewalk, acting in a fully funded film would be a piece of cake.

So, do likewise young thespian; the acting gods reward courage. Don’t wait for your break; make your break! And don’t forget to send us a link to your street masterpiece. We can’t wait to see it!