Frustration. Everybody experiences it. If you're an actor, it's a part of everyday life. Everybody experiences it, but not everybody handles it the same way.
Some people complain. We all know someone like that - the ones who think they're the only people with problems. The ones who spend a good deal of time saying "Why me?"
And then there are the ones who view frustration as a challenge. If Plan A doesn't work out, they come up with Plan B, or C, or D - whatever it takes. Those are the people that I find myself admiring. And those are also the people who have good things happen to them - not because they're lucky as the whiners would have you think, but because they refused to give up in the face of rejection. They kept at it until they found a solution.
Recently an actor named Christopher Wisner found himself in a frustrating situation. He was up for some great roles, made it to the last two or three guys, and then didn't get the part. He was put on hold for jobs that didn't pan out. There isn't an actor alive who hasn't been through the same ordeal. Christopher wasn't working on anything but waiting tables so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
He picked up a copy of a one-act play by David Mamet called Bobby Gould in Hell. He liked the play and showed it to his college friend, Brendan Connor. Brendan liked it too and agreed to play the lead role. Then Brendan called up his childhood friend, Tom Dunn, who offered to be the director. They called a few more friends until a total of seven people, all under the age of thirty, got together and created their own theatre company. They put up their own money, acquired the rights for the play, got a rehearsal space, and booked The Trilogy Theatre in the heart of New York's theater district. They did four performances in mid-February, selling tickets for $10 apiece - and sold out three of those performances. In fact, they sold SRO tickets for the last two nights.
I asked them how they accomplished such a miracle during the worst time of year for theater in New York. It wasn't magic - just ingenuity and hard work. They made up post cards and dropped them off all over town. They called every friend they knew and asked for support. They posted notices on theater message boards. And evidently they turned out a good product because each night their audience grew. Each night they had someone who returned to see it again, bringing friends with them.
They call themselves the Modern Classics Stage Company and we haven't heard the last of them. They're investigating non-profit status and have acquired the rights to a Woody Allen play, which they hope to produce in May. When I asked them about their goals for the future, they said, "Have you heard of Steppenwolf?" Yes I have, and what a wonderful thing it will be if they achieve that goal.
If you'd like to know more about MCSC, you can reach them by phone at (212) 501-4166 or by email at:
MCSC Mission Statement: "The Modern Classics Stage Company was founded in the fall of 2000 with the goal of producing lesser known plays by today's well known authors. The MCSC also wants to provide an atmosphere that fosters creativity for artists and writers so that they may create the Classics of tomorrow. We would like to thank you for your patronage and will continue to dedicate ourselves to producing quality theatrical entertainment."
Wanna' talk to others about this column or anything else theatre related? Check out All That Chat
Search What's New on the Rialto