Film actors, TV actors, and live theater actors all have
talent, but it is, perhaps, live theater actors that deserve the most
credit. If a live theater actor messes up his lines, there is no going
back, he can only go forward and hope for the best. Film and TV actors
can do a retake, even when filming in front of a live audience.
Also, a live theater actor needs to know his lines, he needs to know
the script, know what comes next. He can call for a break so that he
can memorize his few lines for one scene and then take another break
so that he can practice for the next scene. Live theater is in the here
and now. It takes months of preparation for a live theater performance
to go well. And if it does not go well… well, the performers will
feel it immediately – no laughter at a joke, no applause at the
end… they will know.
On the other hand, some may say that stage performers have at least
one small advantage – they can feel out their audience. They can
change their performances ever-so-slightly from opening night to closing
night, depending on how their audience reacts. If the audience does
not laugh at one joke, the actors can try to time the next joke even
better, etc. Actors on film and TV do not have this advantage –
they have to wait until the movie or show comes out and see how the
audiences like it. If they do not like it, there is nothing that can
be done about it.
Live theater does not just employ human actors, either – there
can be animals up on stage, as well. It is amazing how well animals
can do up on stage during a performance, but that does not mean that
at one point the animal will not go off and start chewing the scenery
– you can not always be positive what an animal will do in live
theater, no matter how well trained it is. Animals are not actors.
It is, in part, because of this chance of messing up, and also the
feeling of actually participating in a performance that audiences love