I do theatre for a living.
When I am in a conversation and I get to this point, there is usually a drastic collapse of interest in me or confidence in my cognitive skills. Which is unfortunate, because it sometimes happens that circumstances lead people to believe that I am an intelligent and pleasant person. But it doesn't matter when and how, at some point, always, someone asks the fateful question: "and what do you do for living?”
I tried everything to avoid answering.
You know, choosing to work in the world of art, especially in the case of theatre, has never been a good thing: in ancient times it was practically the same as being a prostitute. In the Middle Ages you were a prostitute and also damned. In modern history you were a prostitute, damned, and a deadbeat. And when, not before the nineteenth century, suddenly emerged the suspicion that the category might have an intellectual value for the community, my ancestors evidently screwed it all up by arrogantly answering questions about their mysterious art (a tradition that has largely remained intact to this day).
We thus come from a couple of centuries in which the actor is basically a prostitute, damned, deadbeat and obnoxious (a jerk). The birth of Hollywood and the entertainment industry in 1910 added a decisive nuance to this last phase, giving a select few the possibility of being paid staggering sums of money, often for commercial operations bordering on idiocy. But what really is the little big addition of the last century, an inexorable escalation from the 1980s until today, is the stupidity factor. That is when, in the mad competition to be seen at all costs, actors started to get paid for doing absurd things and turned stupidity into market value.
So here we are in the 2000s, where if you are an actor you are bound to be someone who was no good at school but had learnt to do an imitation of his aunt and now makes poses in fictional stories. If you're good-looking you do the poses but you also have the right to mumble into microphones to pretend you have feelings. If you are not good-looking, you pretend to do what the good-looking ones do, because that is what the market wants.
Finally, even deeper down, in a sub-category parallel to that of the stupid, there are the deluded, that is, all the stupid people who started acting not because they were handsome, not because they had a four-dimensional ego, not because they were encouraged when they were young, but for other reasons: because they fell in love with a text, a play, maybe another actor, perhaps even themselves. But they really wanted to do theatre. And instead find themselves exchanging awkward glances in the audience of talk shows.
This category is the category of losers, and here you are, at the point of interruption of that fantastic conversation where your interlocutor thought you were normal, maybe nice or smart, even pretty. No. The moment you're forced to answer, what you'll say is "I'm an actress,” but what you'll both see is a spiritually unstable, potentially needy, unavoidably stupid loudmouth.
I once found written on a wall:
Remember, always follow your passion. And if your passion doesn’t fit into global capitalism, well, then you are a failure at life.
And that explains my perspective entirely.