Archive for November, 2012


Life support

Getting a new script must always be a tense situation for an actor playing a supporting character in any kind of drama. Death is around every corner. You’re not loved-by-all enough to be essential but you’re well liked enough so that your death would resonate (or so the theory goes).

I can just imagine turning the pages and finding out that your chipper and up-until-that-point rather danger-averse character has suddenly decided to put themselves into harms way for no conceivable reason. Your stomach must sink as you continue through the script seeing tenuous logic dictate that rather than the heroes of the show, it’s you who is sat defusing the bomb, saving the kids from the burning building or facing off against the psychopathic villain. “Noooo!” they must be thinking, “I just put a down payment on a condo!”.

Then it happens. Blammo! Your character is dead and unless the show has a serious flashback fetish, you’re going to be cashing your last pay check soon. The main characters will show up after the bad guy has hustled or they were all stood just outside the blast radius. One of them will hold you in their arms, looking teary as the writers try to squeeze the last few drops of empathy from this ‘sudden’ loss.

This sort of thing must be like the sword of Damocles hanging over an actor’s head, the hair suspending it twanging each first reading of every new script. The idea that you’re just a bone the writers can throw the audience any time they have a lull in the ratings weighing heavy on your performance as bumbling comic relief. All the time, knowing you’re one cheap ploy away from unemployment.