Being an actor ruins shows.
We are like the hipsters in the coffee world. We don't like the mainstream coffee like Starbucks, we like the artisan, backwoods, home brewed coffee that you can only get two weeks out of the year. Maybe it's because actors are often times giving off this hipster vibe, but we are very particular when it comes to our craft. Let me tell you it ruins shows. Here are some the reasons why actors make critical audience members.
Disclaimer: Us actors are VERY supportive of our fellow actors. The thoughts below are just some of the thoughts we might experience as an audience member. However overall the people usually clapping and cheering the loudest are probably going to be actors, and that's no matter what the show is.
1. I think I could do better than that actor. To be honest at times we are probably right. In fact it shocked me how many actors on Broadway Lots of politics go into casting so that certain actress that squealed her line in the most fake, high pitched, loud squeal might just have had a good audition day or maybe she really is sleeping with the director. Who knows, but in the end it comes to the fact that we are jealous she got the role and we didn't especially if we auditioned for that show. We really just need o get over this thinking.
2. I've seen that show done before and it was better the first time. This is obvious because it usually is better the first time when it is fresh and new. There is a huge bias. I am biased to my first viewing of Ms. Saigon at Serenbe because (obviously) it was outdoor with a real freaking helicopter that flew over you. Also the actors were great. That was kind of hard to beat but I forced myself to set that aside when I saw the Broadway revival and honestly it lived up to the expectations. It was phenomenal and both of those performances were amazing in their own right.
3. I've done that role. Oh please, you were HOPING that he/she would trip and fall. Just kidding. Kind of. While most of us are very supportive, some cannot help themselves but compare their performance to that actor. This is why I can hardly go to shows I've been in for another ten years. We know the character and it's permanently apart of us until it goes down the memory trash chute. And in our hearts we prayed that we performed as well if not better than the actor you are watching.
4. There was way more hype than there should have been. I personally felt this way with Dear Evan Hansen. It was a good show for sure but I just sat there in the audience and felt that I had been led to believe that it's the greatest show in musical theatre history. All in all it was really good but not the greatest. I have heard this over and over from fellow actors that they feel this way after viewing heavily marketed shows. Honestly if you're discussing a show, let the other person form their own opinion. If you hype it odds are the other person will feel let down.
5. I just like to criticize. I knew a girl who was one time asked "Do you like any show?" because after every show she would have something that she didn't appreciate about the performance. I don't believe she was in anyway bitter. I believe after being in the business for so long she knew so many technical elements to theatre and had seen so many shows that it was very hard to live up to her expertise. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing but it definitely means you have been engrossed in the theatre.
Whether these are true for actors or not we all LOVE the theatre. No matter how bad the show is we probably would still support it because anything that supports the arts helps us in the long run. Maybe we are critical out of love. Either way please excuse your actor friends that sit next to you at a play. It isn't their fault.