Two is the Least Lonely Number

It has been said that there are two kinds of people, those who split the world into two types of people, and those who don’t. The truth is that, as much as I may claim to be a progressive thinker with a liberal bent, I tend to split the world into two different kinds of people, and I wanted to include some of my favorite theater-related pairings.

There are two kinds of actors, those that are willing to commit themselves to truth in performance, and therefore will allow themselves to look like complete fools for the sake of a show, and those who commit themselves to look good, regardless of what the show asks of them. There is, of course, a certain amount of pride and hubris in allowing yourself to look like a complete ass in a show, so it’s sometimes difficult to make the delineation. The guy who’s willing to come out on stage in a thong even though he’s fat and covered in hair… this guy is acting out of pride. The guy who fights for a character that is extremely unattractive, this guy doesn’t care who hates him.

Audience Members
There are two kinds of audiences, those that want to buy what you’re selling, and those that want to figure out how they got ripped off. I’ve been to shows with people who complain about the way an actor’s British accent slips, or how you could tell that one guy wasn’t a real golfer or whatever, and meanwhile, going on all around them, there’s a wonderful play. I’ve also been to plays with people when someone gets kicked in the nuts and they go ahead and laugh. The show’s got nut kicking! Go ahead and enjoy it!

There are two types of critics, those that want to protect the audience, and those that want to protect an ideal. When you read reviews and you get a simple recounting of the plot, the critic is simply doing her best to let you know what happens, so you can be prepared when you go see the show. She will even go so far as to explain which bits are good and which are bad. But the type of critics who watch a play with the perfect version of the play in the back of their minds, these critics will celebrate certain things and savage others with a religious passion. A critic who really eviscerates a show is someone who wants to punish the people who made the play, as opposed to the critic who simply wants to warn an audience away from an unpleasant experience.

There are two types of playwrights, those that are telling you their story, and those that are telling you a story. It takes some people a lifetime to stop writing the play that exacts revenge on the world they were born in to, to stop declaring their own brilliance within the plots of their stories. Many playwrights have no need to stop telling their story, their story is exciting and every new version works. The playwrights who tell you a story are working within their own frame of reference, of course, letting you in on their mindset and sometimes revealing more about themselves by not including a suspiciously familiar playwright character in every play, but you won’t find more than one (if that many) play that features a young man or woman who struggles to create something and ends up conquering all enemies through art.

There are two types of musicians, the fashion designers and the coalminers. There are musicians who talk about how important a specific performance of turn of phrase is, and then there are musicians who practice. Every day. Like, they practice their scales. One the one hand, you’ve got musicians who go back and forth about the various recordings of Grateful Dead or Liza or whatever you’re particular bottle of wine is, and then you’ve got guys who have figured out figured bass. There are guys who pick up a guitar and *love* the way it feels, and there are guys who spend hours every single day mining greatness one small note at a time.

There are two types of directors, over-educated, under-experienced megalomaniacal jackasses and potters. I don’t know how better to describe the first group, except to say that I’m fairly sure these people exist in giant numbers. The second group are people who know how to let the wheel spin and let their hands sit on the clay. They can shape both by speeding up the wheel, or by pressing harder, they can throw more clay on, they can use different tools to take clay off, but mostly, they simply work with the material given and turn it into something beautiful. If you’re one of these people, please feel free to write me an email.

Obviously, there are more than two types of people in every group. Seriously, I don’t split groups into twos. But each group just keeps being split into twos, on and on. Except for directors. That part is totally right.