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The Green Room: What annoys you most about your fellow actors?

Pretending to be successful is one of our panellists’ many complaints against their colleagues. Photo: Shutterstock Pretending to be successful is one of our panellists’ many complaints against their colleagues. Photo: Shutterstock

Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…​​​​​​​​​​

Velma Lee is a 32-year-old actor, comic and improviser

Vivian Lee is 38 and has played leading roles at the National, the RSC and the Royal Court, alongside regular TV appearances

Beryl Phoenix is in her 40s. She has played leading roles at the RSC, worked on new plays, and toured both nationally and internationally

Albert Parker is 60 and has appeared as a regular in soaps, two BAFTA-winning sitcoms, theatre and TV

Peter Quince is a 72-year-old actor working in theatre

 

Jon This one is personal. If I see one more ‘actorslife’ hashtag… Seriously though. We talk about how wonderful we are most weeks. What’s the flipside?

Peter They moan about not having work and then moan like hell about the job when they get it.

Jon Ha. yes. As the old joke goes: “How do you make an actor complain? Give them a job.”

Albert I’m holding back and biting my lip.

Beryl I recently experienced an actor behaving badly in terms of self-importance and their attitude to others. I just wanted to say: “You’re not saving the world. You’re playing a role. Get a grip.” No time for that bollocks.

Albert There’s too much talk sometimes. Don’t pull it apart and talk about it. Just fucking do it.

Peter The actors who think it’s about competition rather than cooperation.

Velma Ugh, the worst for me are the falsely friendly WhatsApp messages, or out-of-the-blue invitations to go for coffee from someone who is just clearly wanting intel on a job or a casting or what not. Just ask me!

Vivian The sycophants. The ones who think networking is piling on their colleagues in order to be liked by people in power.

Jon Vivian – I’ve seen a lot of that on social media. Jumping in on any criticism of actors: “I’d never do that, here’s my Spotlight.”

Vivian Exactly.

Albert The use of social media to turn two lines in a remake on Netflix into a fabulous career- making opportunity.

Jon People who GIF themselves.

Albert I’ve spilt my latte macchiato in disgust, Jon.

Vivian The bitter ones.

Peter Yes, some actors are very bitter.

Vivian The lazy actors who are just there to do the minimum.

Beryl When actors are selfish and disconnected to the world it makes me very sad. Ego can be a destroyer. If we lack the ability to laugh at ourselves and fail, then we lack humility and humanity. And if we lack humanity, how can we expect to portray anyone or anything?

Jon Maybe it’s a middle-aged thing, but I sometimes get a bit tired of older actors bemoaning how lazy/untrained/not like Gielgud younger actors are, too.

Vivian Ha. They are the ones I’m thinking of. The older ones. Moan, moan.

Jon A mate of mine was on a workshop and after the (cold) read-through an older actor approached him and said it was scandalous the young actors weren’t doing RP.

Peter I think young actors are far from lazy. They’re busy doing warm-ups while I’m just clearing my throat.

Jon Having said that, 20 year olds who are amazed I can still walk can fuck off, too.

Albert I think the younger ones have a very hard time of it. The hardest thing being knowing when to give up. They get fewer opportunities to work regularly and no one these days can just rely on acting for an income. But it’s a fact, so you just have to get on with it.

Peter Do you mean in terms of age, or lack of success, Albert?

Albert Specifically, in terms of lack of work.

Vivian Oh, and the bravura of juveniles who think it’s all about kicking a ball at the warm up. That really bores me.

Albert What’s the average age of this room? At least 40 something, I’m guessing.

Jon Albert, the Green Room contributors range from early 20s to 70s.

Albert But mainly older, I suspect.

Jon Thinking about it, a lot of my gripes are social media related. Another one is that post-audition coffee photo tweet when it’s obvious they’re on the South Bank or near Cam Mac.

Vivian Ah yes, the learning lines photo with the casual coffees.

Albert Ooh yes. It’s called ‘front stage’. Putting a fictional successful life out there, when in reality, you’re shoplifting at Lidl for lunch.

Jon And the teasers. ‘Oh God I wish I could tell you my news!’

Albert You can Jon, but you haven’t got any have you?

Jon Keep an eye on Twitter…

Vivian Oooh, I’ve got one – actors who confuse being nasty and mean for theatrical camp.

Peter I can’t bear sorting out the bill at a company meal.

Jon I think banking apps are going to sort that all out for us eventually. People will just Monzo various amounts to each other across the table.

Peter And it may be a bit controversial for so late in the conversation, but actors who don’t join Equity irritate the hell out of me.

Jon Agreed.

Peter I know that will get Albert going.

Vivian The #grateful stuff gets my goat. It just adds to this culture of subservience. We are a vital cog. That’s all. But certainly no less than that.


Jon Dryden Taylor is an actor, writer and editor of The Green Room. If you work in theatre and would like to join in the conversation, email greenroom@thestage.co.uk

Dear West End Producer: ‘How can we end the hideous #actorslife? And what is theatre doing to compete with Netflix?’

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