Monday, 2 November 2015

My lips are sealed.

I have been quite for a while, for three reasons: I’ve been working hard on academics and house hunting, it has been really quiet industry-wise of late and lastly, the contract I was working I’m not allowed to talk about. Or post about on social media.

When I did a two week shoot for a coke advert 2 years ago the first thing I did after collecting my luggage at the airport (well, I went to the wrong carousel and then had to find it by the baggage handlers) was sign a non-disclosure agreement. Threatening to be prosecuted by the State of Oregon if I posted (or my family and friends posted) anything about the shoot on any form of social media. And they were monitoring us. One of the stuntmen got into a lot of trouble when putting a photo on facebook. I had to sign a non-disclosure again two days into the shoot. Just in case. I’m not sure in case of what, but it had to be done. Coke was terrified Pepsi would catch wind of what was going on. And on my second shoot I wasn’t going to be arguing with anyone. What was different about that shoot to the work I’m doing now is that I could post about the advert once it had aired.

I’ve worked two contracts this year I can’t post about. It’s sort of like being a slightly less glamorous Disney princess. Maintaining the illusion is key. So no photos of yourself in half of your costume, no backstage pics. And if someone manages to photograph you mid costume change you got into trouble. During rehearsals a friend took a photo of me doing a handstand which I sent to my husband. Our director thought I had posted it online:

“My husband had such a good laugh at that photo of me”

“Did you post it on facebook?” He had gone suddenly pale as he hadn’t specifically briefed me on the company’s protocols.

“It’s not my first gig. I know how this works. Nothing online.”

His relief was palpable.

It would be really great to post about all the weird things and conversations we have about the show. About the strange service entrances we use for shows, the unlighted paths we’ve had to walk at night and sneezing in our costumes before performing. What I can talk about more is the amazing people I get to work with. Cast mates and directors. My wrangler who keeps my costume safe and looks after me when I’m in character and who has literally saved my life. She has kept me from falling down stairs and protected me from over-zealous kids and parents.

As a performer there are things I would love to be able to share. And there are things I just can’t. The performance is more important. As performers we have to believe in the illusion we are creating for people we are entertaining. If we can’t believe in that, we don’t belong on that stage. 

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