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Stars turn to the stage to recharge their thespic ‘batteries’

/ 08:50 PM December 20, 2013

PACINO AND CRAIG. Crave more complex and challenging roles.

American TV and film stars earn megamillions of dollars each year—but, instructively, quite a number of them make it a point every couple of years or so to act in a stage play.

In fact, the list has gotten longer in recent theater seasons, to include the top-wattage likes of Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Katie Holmes, Scarlett Johansson and Matthew Broderick. Soon to join their stellar company are Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Zooey Deschanel.

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Stage actors make much less than TV-film stars, so what gives? The luminaries themselves explain that the experience is well worth the drastic salary cut, because they need to “recharge” their thespic “batteries” every now and then—and stage plays and musicals are the best way to do that!

Why so? Because roles in the theater are generally more complex and challenging than what TV series and movies have to offer, so actors can really “stretch” their talents when they act onstage.

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Craig last appeared onstage in 2009, in the play, “A Steady Rain,” opposite Hugh Jackman, another popular star who feels that he needs to return to the theater every now and then to continue growing as an actor.

This time around, Craig and his wife, Weisz, will star  in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal.” They will play a married couple whose union is tested when she has an affair with a younger man.

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Craig is a big star whose last James Bond caper, “Skyfall,” made a whopping $1 billion at the box office. But, he still feels that it’s important for him to periodically get down to brass tacks and bite into a really challenging stage role, to keep his thespic chops sharp. Would that many more stars could follow suit!

—Especially on the local performing scene, where it’s easy for popular celebrities to fall into a thespic rut and stop growing as performing artists.

Most stars here play mere variations on the role that made them popular decades ago, so there’s little challenge to be found there!

As for stars who appear in a lot of teleseryes, they soon realize that really great performances can’t be found there, because local drama series practically force even the best actors to resort to melodramatic, predictable and urgently loud portrayals.

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Another reason why popular TV-film stars here should do Filipino stage productions is that their popularity and clout with viewers can do a lot to make local theater as popular as it deserves to be!

For instance, not too long ago, Eugene Domingo did a stage play, and her presence in the production made it a big hit. Can you imagine what would happen if the likes of Vilma Santos or Jericho Rosales would decide to enhance a Filipino play’s appeal to viewers with their stellar participation? Think about it, Vi and Echo—won’t you?

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TAGS: Al Pacino, Daniel Craig, Film, Television, Theater
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