Alina Phelan - What's your 99 seat story?
On a personal note, 99 seat theatre has been my home and heart since I graduated college. It's where I play and grow, stretch artistically and do projects that excite and challenge me. It's also the place that keeps me sane. We live and work in this crazy little town called Hollywood where everyone you meet is pursuing some kind of art form. Acting is such an odd little beast. It's a profession where you always feel like you're waiting for someone else to give you permission to do what you love. You have to wait to get auditions, wait to get agents and managers, wait to get cast...etc. Sure you can take classes, but that does not fill the heart parts. The whole dance can kind of make you crazy. 99 seat theatre, theatre in general, is the place where I get my personal power back. I get to work with the most talented actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians. I get to create worlds and beef up my confidence. I have worked under full equity contracts and 99seat waiver contracts. I tell you truthfully, I'm no more artistically satisfied doing a full equity show than I am 99. In fact if i were to weigh in growth points which has stretched me furthest- it's 99 seat- hands down. I never remember how much I was paid for a particular experience in theatre, but I can tell you the memories I've had playing Hamlet, or a girl who thought she was Bjork. Or working on world premiere productions from writers that now have huge theatre and film/tv careers. Or working with fellow LA actors who excite and inspire me. Not to mention other local theatre companies and directors that I can't wait to work with, that i aspire to work with. We have to be able to keep our incubator going, to cross-pollinate with each other. Bottom line: I don't want to wait to do what I love. Passing these ridiculous proposals from Equity is going to take away my opportunities and I'm not okay with this! There are not enough Equity opportunities in this city to keep my theatre addiction satisfied. And at the end of the day I think that's the difference between pro-99'rs and the Yes folks. I can't believe in my heart that theatre drives and fulfills them. I can't believe that they see it as absolutely essential to breathing like I do. Because if they did, they wouldn't be okay with saying yes.
Of course actors are vital to the process and deserve to be paid. But there is a reality that needs to be taken into consideration. These proposals are not based in any kind of reality. Certainly not the one that exists in Los Angeles Alina Phelan Equity member since 1999
Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.