When the first accident happened on Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, it was the big snicker of people in theater. A Sixty-Five Million dollar production and one of the leads gets hurt during the previews and everyone in the audience twittering about it during the show (because that is what live theater is all about: Not watching the show to electronically tweeting about it).
It was so amusing. Even I shook my head and snickered "Spider-Man: Turn On The Morphine Drip". It's always funny until someone pokes an eye out.
It's official. As an actor my gander is up. This show is a danger to actors, and hell...quite possibly an audience member and musician. As an audience member or musician, do you really wish to have Spider-Man fall thirty feet onto you and the seasoned ticket holder who brought you? You signed up to be a third violinist. Not a safety matt for faulty wiring.
I would though as an actor, like to focus in on the people who are in my profession: Actors and the production people who hire us. This is my Open Letter:
Dear Producers of this Dangerous, Expensive Fiasco you Call Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark:
You spent 65 million dollars and a 31 year old actor will live the rest of his life with a messed up skull and spine from faulty wiring?
I wish I can hold back the need to swear but I think it is vital and necessary in this case, and I will continue to swear throughout this Open Letter: This shit needs to STOP.
I know us actors are the last thing you think about when you put up these spectacles. We know you call for us by our "Character Name" instead of our "Real Names" in rehearsals. We actors know that you feel that your light rigging is far more valuable than Henchman #2. You are more worried about us losing a prop than say us having to cancel a show when we lose a loved one.
We actors hate you for it. We really do.
But we put up with this "Actors as Breathing Furniture" shit in the hopes that we can use this production on our resume for our next hopeful job, use video of this for our movie reels (if we are lucky enough for you to even remember to give us a copy instead of us scanning the internet to find it), and that we can pay off our Equity dues and maybe eat food.
You see, Breathing furniture also has a digestive track that needs food to keep breathing so you in turn can tell us how inept and stupid we are for even being actors on the microphones during sound check that we can hear in stereo from the stage hand's ear piece AND from the house.
Goddamit! As moving breathing human beings that apparently do not look as important as the scrim behind us in your minds...can you take care of us onstage the same way you take care of your light rigging?
I'm convinced if a par can fell from the rafters, hit Mary Jane on the head and set her on fire...one of your tech guys would be running to save the fucking par can, only to remember we are humans and give us a lip service visit to the hospital with us laying in a full torso cast and seared hair thinking: "Wonder how fast this person can heal? Wonder if she can do this stuff in a torso cast and wig? Oh well. The moment I leave this room...I'm texting your understudy..uh...what's her name...yea...Mary Jane Understudy. Yea. That's her name."
For the love of Christ and all that is holy. Start treating actors like human beings. Or at least like your stage manager/marketing liaison/backdrop of New York. Try to imagine your living room set with real breakable arms and legs that is going to cost you 150 times as much to fix if your Actor Furniture decides to sue, or takes you to court for endangerment if that helps.
Don't put up shit if the people onstage are not safe on your goddamn equipment. Close this nightmarish Actor Danger Zone. Your Sixty Five Million Dollars spent to create a Steve Ditko world is making Steve Ditko spin with a spinning assist by Stan Lee on a theater show based on a character whose whole purpose was to save people from danger.
But hey. You are a producer. You probably have no idea who Steve Ditko is.
Actor and Breathing piece of furniture taking the hit on bitching for safety of actors everywhere.
PS: Did I mention you just plain suck? No? Well you just plain suck. That is the best I can come up with right now. What do you expect. I'm an actor.
Causes Shaun Landry Supports
The Alzheimer's Foundation, NAACP, Breast Cancer Foundation, Gilda's Club.