Guest blog post by 2011 Acting MFA alumnus Jordan Whalen
Two jobs. Two shows. Junky car on it’s 210 THOUSANDTH mile needing repairs. Eating dinner in the car whilst in transit between everything. My first 8 months of being a “professional” actor have been quite the experience. Gone are the comfy days of the Hilberry and it’s consistent paycheck, health and dental. Hello, multiple W-2’s, multiple jobs, and multiple auditions. I gotta say though, I’ve never felt more confirmed in my choice of profession.
There have been quite the number of ups and downs since graduation. The UPS have been marked by remarkable generosity. Brandon “Most Generous Brother in the World” Whalen gifted me a much needed trip to Oktoberfest and Europe for two weeks as a graduation gift. My Mom, Dad and Sister all gave me money for graduation that helped fund the trip. And my girlfriend, current Hilberrian Sara Hymes, gave me a fancy camera to keep track of all my travels.
The DOWNS have mostly been marked by bad luck. Five days before leaving for Europe, I (most likely) permanently lost 85% of my hearing in my left ear. And due to the trip, I had to turn down a lot of work and a lot of opportunities to work….though it was all worth it. I was also thoroughly educated on the idiotic policy known as “No Fault Insurance” as I got zero money from the girl who rear ended me that MAY have caused my hearing loss. Woe, is me 🙂
Seriously though, the UPS have by far outweighed the DOWNS.
On to what I’m doing. Peter Prouty hooked me up with a job in the technical side of theatre at the Berman Theatre. New theatre, new lights, new tools…new everything. So nice to work there and so nice to learn how to do theatre from a technical standpoint. Also very nice to be making money from the theatre, even if it’s not acting.
The best part about this profession: Random phone calls. Between all the people you’ve worked with in the past and all the auditions you go on, almost any random phone call is going to be some sort of good news. Joe Kvoriak, whom I went to the Hilberry with, called and offered me a role in the Park Bar’s production of The Tempest. Couldn’t have been a better experience. Got to meet a TON of local Detroit actors (who are all great, by the way), make a little money acting, and drinking a ton of free beer during the process! I tell ya, if you don’t want to annoy actors by calling them to rehearsal and then making them sitting around, provide free beer. No complaints here…at all.
And being an actor wouldn’t be complete without being a waiter. The place: Wasabi. The food: sushi. The pay: not bad. Been working for about a month at this point and I’m liking it. I’m not a bad waiter either…certainly worth 25% 🙂
And the best news since graduation is that I’m blessed! to be in an amazing production, Mary Stuart at Meadow Brook Theatre. I think the mark of a successful career is always being able to call your latest production “The Best Show I’ve Been Apart of.” That certainly is holding true for me now. I hesitate to write that because I’ve done so many shows in the past that have meant so much to me and have been amazing…and it’s certainly no offense to anyone I’ve ever worked with in the past. The actors in Mary Stuart are (mostly) all older than me and I’m learning a ton from them, which is all I can ask for. Actors that are better than you make you better…IF you’re willing to learn. And believe me, I’m taking notes. No seriously, I am.
Mary Stuart runs February 8th – March 4th at Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester Hills. And I am not the only Hilberrian involved….Peter Prouty is in it too! (I see Peter more than I see my own family or girlfriend…seriously.)
My next project will hopefully be directing. All I have to do is figure out what to direct, where to perform, who to cast, who to help me, and where to find the money. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Seriously hoping to put something up at The Park Bar‘s Elizabeth Theatre in late April, early May. I would love it if all of you would come out and see it!!! I’ll keep you posted 🙂