Actors Must Suffer

This week has been jam packed with rehearsals for a reading of a new musical I am doing this evening. Because of this, I have spent most of my evenings this week in NYC rehearsal studios.

If you aren’t in the entertainment business you may not be familiar with rehearsal studios. They are large spaces that are sectioned off by various sizes of private rooms for performers or producers to rent out by the hour to rehearse whatever it is they are working on or hold auditions.

I am mostly certain people don’t rent these rooms by the hour for sex. However, there used to be a studio above the Howard Johnson’s in Times Square that may have been used for sex. It was nasty and only sketchy theaters held their auditions there.

Now, I spend most of my days in a modern, climate controlled, relatively clean, corporate office space and this week was a reminder of my old theatrical life. Barely functioning bathrooms, dirty carpets, furniture that may contain bedbugs, beat up pianos, peeling paint, surly front desk staff, and snacks for sale that say, “not to be sold individually”.

The place we were in last night didn’t even have a computer at the front desk, just a paper planner with room bookings written down. There was a credit card machine that could read cards with chips, so I guess I was impressed by that.

Some studios in town are nicer than others, but they all seem a bit dog eared to me. Twice now during my monthly voice lessons, some kind of goopy mung has fallen from the ceiling and landed on my teacher while he was playing piano. And this was in two different studios. We recoiled in horror, both times.

My husband always says that one of his old professors, or someone he knows used to say, “actors must suffer.” And judging by the current state of NYC rehearsal studios, he is right.

At least these dirty spaces build character and the immune system.