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BWW Blog: Theatre People Literally Suck

The most controversial thing you'll ever read on BroadwayWorld.

I hate theatre people.

Okay, that was harsh.

I don't hate ALL theatre people. If you're able to saunter down the street belting out Wicked for all the world to see without any sense of shame, I have all the respect in the world for you. Seriously. To that, I know that not all theatre people are THAT type of theatre people, and some hate Wicked and feel as though the mainstream theatre crowd puts the entire community to shame.

Whoever you are, it's not you--it's me.

I was a theatre person since I took my first acting class at the tender age of four (after being on "The Wonder Pets," of course, my claim to TikTok fame), and I loved it for so many years. Like yes, I was, in fact, that girl who went around bragging about taking acting classes since she was four years old, and yes, I'm 4'11 and Jewish and was often compared to the "Glee" protagonist we all love to hate. However, as I got older, theatre became less about community and more about being the best. I became even more obsessed with it, but by way of a toxic, constant stream of overeager, nervous energy--less so of a passion for my art. I began to lose myself in this vicious cycle of audition anxiety, drama class drama, and never knowing why something didn't go my way.

Both in school and out, I was surrounded by a persistently overwhelming group of theatre people. It is an innate human tendency to behave like those around you, and so I, naturally, fell into the physical and verbal patterns that mimicked the ones I was always exposed to. The mobs that discussed nothing but the next show and which show had a role for them and which role they would play because they could hit this note or kick their leg that high and wouldn't we all like to hear them hit that note? It was a whole lot of "me" talk that led to years of disparity and my sincerely hating myself. Why couldn't we just talk about boys? I drove myself and everyone around me completely crazy with this gross, angsty self-loathing, and though this version of myself that was so miserable was the epitome of "theatre person," I simply chalked it up to, like, puberty or something.

I never got cast in a mainstage show at my performing arts high school. Granted, it was a highly competitive program, and everybody who was at that school was there for a reason, however, well--so was I. I don't intend for this to sound cocky, because I'm not by any means, however, I knew I was talented--and to that, my time management, commitment, and work ethic went beyond that of your typical high schooler, drama student or not. So there had to have been some other reason that I was never cast, perhaps something I was either too naive to notice or too afraid to admit.

Was it that I tried too hard? So hard that people were afraid to let me in? Was it that I went out of my way to label myself as one specific thing, was so quick to fix every little mistake, that I lost my humanity in trying to become some uptight perfectionist machine? Was it that I somehow got so lost in this idea of a person that I wanted to put up onstage in front of thousands of people that I missed out on years worth of life experience, which ultimately made me seem shrill, sheltered, and unlikable?

I was the very thing that was making me miserable to begin with. When I began my time in a B.F.A. Acting program, I began to feel like I was, once again, on the outside looking in, but for a different reason than I had in high school. I had finally grown beyond "I should play Eponine because" talk and moved onto literally any other type of talk, and as I began to feel entrapped in a crowd of people that were frighteningly similar to the older versions of myself, I knew I had to begin anew.

Don't get me wrong--I have ALL the markings of a true theatre person. I played Little Red Riding Hood at French Woods, I got LaDucas as a Chanukah present and spent the extra $12 on the iconic bag with the gold stitching, and I had my first kiss in an amateur production of 13. I had this outfit that I wore for a performance that consisted of a black leotard, black fishnets, and a red ballet skirt, and I thought I looked genuinely sexy in it, and I own the entire libretto for Spring Awakening. But I grew to replace my LaDucas with a dignant rotation of Doc Martens, Air Force 1's, and sensible black booties, and learned that just because "sexy" is in Roxie Hart's character description, dressing you're about to dance the Cell Block Tango won't make men fall at your feet.

If you're a theatre person, don't be offended. I don't hate you. I hate the version of myself that drove herself to tears five times weekly for something that, deep down, she didn't even want. I recently made the decision to switch out of my Acting B.F.A. and pursue a career in journalism and screenwriting. While I'd like to say this was a difficult decision, it wasn't--for the first time in my life, I felt like I was truly doing what was right--I discovered then that I didn't have to try at all. It felt completely natural. Good theatre, of course, is that that is the most authentic, I wasn't myself OFFSTAGE for a lot of the time, so how was I to be authentic anyhow? So if you try to call me a theatre person, I'll probably punch you in the arm (don't worry, my strength is seriously lacking), but I love you anyway, because you're not TOTALLY wrong.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Chloe Hechter