by Sami DeSocio
I have an absolutely fantastic best friend! I’ve known her for seventeen years, we spend tons of time together and we know we will always be there for each other. My best friend doesn’t memorize lines, get lost in a script, or play to audiences – my best friend is not in the theater world like I am. And you know what? That’s the way we both like it!
As your life becomes more involved in theater, you may realize your social life is a bit complicated, but don’t worry. You need to have friends that aren’t in theater to keep yourself grounded, and keep yourself normal. You need to have those friends that you can grab and go play video games with, or go to the beach or park or whatever else you guys decide to do that isn’t theater. It’s a very demanding job, it has physical demands on your body, emotional demands, and of course, social demands. But if you have friends that aren’t into theater, but are also super supportive like my best friend, you will find a great balance. But how do you keep them happy if they don’t understand your world?
First, spend as much time with them as possible when you’re not in a show. You will have lulls between shows, we all experience them as part of this business. During this lull, while you’re reading plays and going to class, make sure you grab your other friends for a day at the beach, or a day in the city to do something other than to see theater (there are other things to do! I promise!). Just do something that forces you to turn your overactive brain of memorizing blocking, lines, songs and costume changes, and lets you relax with your friends.
If you’re in a show, invite your friends to come see it! There’s no shame in asking your non theater friends to come see you do what makes you happy! And most theaters will give the actors in their shows comp seats so your friends don’t even have to pay to get in!
Plan time together. This might be hard, I’m sure your other friends have things that they do like sports, or something else they do when you’re in your shows or movies. But sit down together and schedule time together so that you both know that on that day, you both will hang out together.
And of course, phone calls and texts don’t hurt either. Even if you can’t see your non-theater friends for months at a time (yes, I mean months), there’s nothing saying that you can’t give them a quick call or text to let them know you’re thinking of them!
As an actor, you need to find a balance in life to keep yourself grounded. And having a combination of theater friends and non theater friends will do that for you! A balance is exactly what you need for a social life while in theater is!