Editor’s note: The following was sent as an email in response to a column that appeared earlier this week by Gary Abernathy headlined “When actors are left unscripted.” It is published with permission.
I’d like to preface this by saying that I do not intend to belittle your viewpoints nor do I wish for this to become anything more than an open sharing of thoughts. I respect your right to have (and voice) your opinion and I hope you will grant me the same respect.
As you may or may not know, I left my position at the Chamber to pursue my undergraduate degree. That degree, which is partially funded by a scholarship based on both academic and performance qualities, is a BFA in Acting. I think you may know where I’m going with this… but hear me out.
You recently published an article suggesting that actors are less intelligent than those who choose to pursue other career paths. You also suggest that because actors are less intelligent that they should stay out of politics.
Again, you are completely free to have you own opinion and I will always fight for the freedom of speech that allows our opinions to differ. However, I am deeply saddened by your article and I wanted to share something with you that I hope will shed some light on why many people choose to become actors.
Contrary to popular belief, most of us do not hunger for the fame and money that Hollywood promises. On the contrary, most of us know we will struggle and go without many luxuries throughout our lives.
But something brings us to the theatre and encourages us to remain there. Theatre is no longer a bunch of happy-go-lucky musicals where the girl and boy end up happily every after; theatre today is significantly more messy and unpredictable – which I believe is a good representation of our reality.
I have had the incredible opportunity to get to know some of the actors of yesterday that are now paving the way for the theatre of today. Those people who started out as actors are now artistic directors and managing directors of entire theatre companies. These people are not unintelligent; they are able to balance budgets, negotiate salaries, apply for government grants, plan galas, and manage to produce a profit even when the economy sinks. Please do not write these people off as “just actors.”
I have attached a video below. It is short and won’t even take 8 minutes of your time. The video is of Patsy Rodenburg, an academic scholar and performer. In the short clip, she talks to a class about why we do theatre. I sincerely hope you will take a few moments and watch it to completion.
Again, I hope that you do not see this as a personal attack because that is not what I have set out to write. Thank you so much for your time and I sincerely hope you have read the entirety of this message. I continue to have nothing but the utmost respect for journalists, even those with whom I do not necessarily see eye to eye.
Stormi Bledsoe formerly worked for the Highland County Chamber of Commerce and is a BFA Acting Candidate at Northern Kentucky University.