22 Jan 2010

Up Stage Right (repost)

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1. To distract attention from (another performer) by moving upstage, thus forcing the other performer to face away from the audience.

2. To divert attention or praise from; force out of the spotlight: a vice president who repeatedly tried to upstage the president.

3. To treat haughtily.

I am a slave to my passion, and my passion is the Theatre. I have been bitten by the bug from as early as I can remember how to sing, dance, and decide what to eat, and I have no plans of abandoning or changing such passions for others that offer greater rewards, financial or otherwise. I am passionate about my art, and my art has given me much bounty, from spiritual highs to audience adulation. And I will fight to the death when someone stands in between me and my life’s fervor.

It is in this light that I find it such an insult when I am accused of upstaging my co-actors on stage. I respect my craft as much as I respect everyone who is involved in the creation of it; therefore, I end up insulting myself when I lay disrespect to people in my field, most especially co-actors who are directly with me when I indulge in my life’s passion. I give them due respect, due courtesy, due notice, and concurrently, I award them due criticism if needed, in order to maintain my degree of consistency and excellence, to which I have laboriously slaved for almost all my life.

What I do not celebrate is mediocrity. I will not stand for it, nor tolerate it, and all its apathetic undertakings. It is the bane of my existence, not only as a theatre practitioner, but as a person, in my day-to-day life. I abhor its nonchalance to brilliance, and detest its lack of enthusiasm for greatness. I am never pwede na you either like me, or hate me. But never pwede na.

So to those who have thrown in very casually how I have managed to make my career that of upstaging everyone I have ever worked with on stage, here are several thoughts:

a.) as a student of theatre, I have always respected the decision that my director has given me; that is inherent with me, having formally studied my craft in college, and am not just someone who is purely fueled by passion for this art; therefore, everything that I output has either been tasked of me, or has been approved by the powers that be;

b.) my co-actors can attest to my complete investment to my characters on stage; any “unequal” performances arising from this total surrender of myself should not be pointed to my absolute commitment to my craft; after all, I am not the only one on stage;

c.) by definition, upstaging is a malicious intent to take away attention from that which needs to be seen; I have never hogged the limelight that is given to me, nor have I sowed in malice to any performance I have ever done; I will not be praised by critics if I intentionally set out to destroy a scene or production to serve my need for attention alone;

d.) please do not persecute me for being clearer, funnier, having a better voice, or having gotten better roles and the lines that come with them; I am a thinking actor, and am always finding out ways to make the pages of any script come alive;

e.) do not mistake consistent energy for upstaging;

f.) know your definition of terms first before excreting them out of your system; nothing is more disgusting than that of written or verbal diarrhea.

I write this as my final say on the matter. For those of you who read it, may it be a lesson not to judge hastily what you see. Perception is very much different from fact. And unless you’ve gotten your facts straight, your words are as empty as the thoughts from which they’ve come from. Capisce?

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