Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I'm Too Big...and I Like It!

I’m pretty excited right now, as I have made a couple of decisions about my writing and how it can be best shared online. Let’s start by saying that I love writing - I love being a contributor to Backstage magazine and getting to round out my thoughts as a career coach and as a producer. But when it came to writing about my personal life and acting career, I’ve always thought about it being more “for me” (like a journal offline) than opening it up to others as a way to expand my career as an artist. The result? I’ve done way more writing for my other careers, which have grown and prospered as a result. I want that same blossoming to be possible for my work as an artist (actor/director.)

Starting this week I’ll be finding a way to import each new post into the news section of my acting website, so that I can start thinking about my writing as affective rather than just reflective. I want to affect my career, not just muse about it. And I want to share it, because I think we all have a story to tell and I think our art is better if our audiences can understand and relate to us on some level.

I want to start by showing you an inspiring video by Patsy Rodenburg, “Why I Do Theatre” (start at 3:02 to skip to my favorite part of the video):

So, why am I am actor? Truly, it’s because I’ve always been an intuitive, sensitive person with turbulent feelings, and the world always tells those kinds of people that they need to be smaller. But in the arts, those feelings are not only normal, they’re heralded. And the more I’m able to share my truth with audiences, the more I can accept myself as being whole and valid for having access to those emotions. I truly believe that art provides a healing, not only in me being able to express myself but also for others who might be able to open themselves a bit after seeing their truth being shared with them. The profession of acting, simply put, matters.

I just spent about 30 minutes trying to find a final video for this post - a speech from an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” in which a professional opera singer is told he has cancer and the only way he will be guaranteed survival is by removing part of his lung. This would, of course, impact his singing and he says he’d rather die. What he said next moved me to tears and I wanted to share the transcript with you now:
I want my lung.” 

Dr. Altman. I’m big. Too big. I don’t fit in airplane seats and as Jeff is always telling me, my feelings don’t always fit the situation. If my food is overcooked at a restaurant, I get enraged. I want to kill the waiter. But I don’t. I politely ask him to take my meal back and bring it to me the way I asked for it. I spend my days making myself smaller, more acceptable. And that’s okay, because at night, when I go onstage, I get to experience the world the way I feel it. Indescribable rage and unbearable sadness and huge passion. At night, onstage, I get to kill the waiter and dance on his grave. And if I can’t do that, if all I have is left is a life of making myself smaller, then I don’t want to live. I don’t.” 
[Turns to his lover]

And believe me, honey, you don’t want me to live.”
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Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit

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