Five years! 508 entries. 12 or so productions of various lengths at six different venues. More than 20 individual roles. Who knows how many audience members. Not to mention scores of articles, stories, reviews, and random theatre related musings not pertaining directly to one of my shows. And the comments for the same.
And my loyal blog readers. I thank you all for being there through all of this. Even during the months sometimes when material was thin.
So what can be said on this anniversary of the launch of this blog? It hasn't been earth changing, I know. It doesn't get thousands of hits a month, or even a year. And while I admit I would really like to get some more comments on my posts, I like to think that the adventures I have shared here have contributed at least a bit to someone's enjoyment or understanding of community theatre. I can't be sure that it has done so without feedback. But I can hope.
Actually, I hope a lot of things about the last five years of Always Off Book. I do it because it means something to me personally, and I get satisfaction out of it, regardless of external outcome. Nevertheless, I do hope that it has accomplished certain things for others over the last five years. For example:
-I hope it has made clear that amateur productions do not always mean low quality anymore than professional theatre always equals great work. On that same page, I hope it has shown that an amateur actor, as my subtitle suggests, really doesn't have to have amateur thoughts about the world of acting. It comes from inside each individual performer.
-I hope that people read my sometimes technical but always truthful "sausage making" posts about how rehearsals for a production are going, and become more aware of all that goes into even a smaller stage production. And I hope that by knowing such, I have enriched the experience of going to see a live performance, even if it is not my own performance.
-I hope that by being frank about as many things as possible as I write here on the blog, I have gained the trust of my readers. That by now they can know whatever I post is sincere and frank.
-It is my hope that people have noticed I continue to come back to live theatre, despite being in some truly miserable shows with some truly lousy people sometimes.
-I hope that Always Off Book has succeeded, at least sometimes, in conveying to the reader a tiny portion of the exhilaration that can be felt by an actor when a play is going right
-I hope the advice I have given here, both in articles and through relaying my own rehearsal experiences has been of use to fellow actors out there in their own shows.
-I hope those that know nothing at all about being in a show have learned something useful about not just theatre, but about professionalism, passion, motivation, and quality in any aspect of life. Because though it is about my theatre adventures, a lot of what I talk about here is about putting my name onto something, and committing 100% to its excellence. You can do that whether in a show, or cooking a meal.
-I hope my minimalist, "content is king" approach appeals to those who actually want to take the time to read something in depth, instead of just skimming the surface of an issue, and playing with the bells and whistles of a website.
-Readers have laughed, been given pause, reconsidered a position, felt comforted, or just educated by my posts at some point I hope.
-But most of all, and I would think this is obvious, it is my sincerest hope that somewhere in these 508 entries, I have written something that has encouraged someone out there to either attend, or appear in community theatre for the very first time. Someone who otherwise might not have done so, because of fear, or misconceptions, or uncertainty as to what to expect. Someone who may have lacked the interest, or the confidence to try such a thing until they stumbled across Always Off Book and read about something that I have been through.
-And my "uber-hope", if you will, is related to the last one. It is my "uber-hope" that at least one person not only decided to try theatre for the first time based on something I have written here, but subsequently fell in love with it, and decided they want to dedicate passion, energy, and time to it for a long time to come. That the very act of reading one of these blog posts was the first step in an epiphany, like the one I had years ago. An epiphany that reveals to someone out there that despite what their career may be, there is a place, an important, rewarding, influential place for them in the world of live theatre. And that such a reader will, without shame, assume that place, and change their life, and the lives of others in the process.
And then one day that person will introduce the theatre to someone else who never thought theatre could be for them…
These are my hopes. This is my blog. I am Ty, an amateur actor sharing his not so amateur thoughts on the world of acting. I have been doing so for five years today. And I have no intention in the world of stopping anytime soon.