Saturday, March 28, 2009

Actors on the Train

Posted by Cliff Chamberlain

“Look. It’s the guy who played Paul.”

After one of the previews the other night
I was on the Brown Line at Clark/Lake
when a group of people got on.

One of them was holding a program.

I was doing a crossword and listening to my iPod,
so I couldn’t hear what they were saying,
but out of the corner of my eye
I’m pretty sure I saw the woman point at me.

I thought to myself.
“They just saw Magnolia. She’s probably saying, ‘Look, Daniel. It’s the guy who played Paul. He’s sitting right next to us. On the Brown Line. Should we say something to him?’”

I thought about how awkward it can be
for actors and theater-goers to share public transportation after a show.

For the audience member,
does it break the spell of the show you just saw if you see me reading The Onion afterward?
Is it exciting to see the actors after a show in a space other than the theater?
Is it kind of bizarre?
Do you enjoy talking to actors about the show you just saw?
Or do you absolutely dread it?
I’m actually quite interested in this.

Because I’m one of those actors who never minds talking to you.
Just so you know.
I think audience members are fantastic.

And I thought this woman and her husband and her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were fantastic, and I wanted to say to them, “Hey, it’s okay. I’m not a crazy hippie like I am in the play you just saw. You can talk to me.”

I wanted to make their train ride less awkward.

And so I began to take off my headphones when the woman turned over her program.

Jersey Boys.

She was definitely not pointing to me saying, “That guy played Paul.”
She may have been pointing at me saying, “Look at that guy’s beard. Hmph. City-folk.”

And there I was, about to start a conversation.

Talk about awkward.


  1. Awkward moments like that are absolute gold.

    I stayed after the show last week to talk to Annette O'Toole, who I'd met before, but I'll have to remind myself to stay after to talk to you next time I see it, which I believe is Sunday. And we can talk about awkward. ;)

  2. Just saw the show. The whole cast is fantastic (and the set is to die for), but I gotta say - that Annette O'Toole is a knock out.