Armin Zaphiratous

Theater: It's for Life

Or maybe just 10 to 20, with good behavior. Armin waxes poetic on theater as a career, and dream interpretation.

published Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our advice expert, semi-retired actor-director Armin Zaphiratous, has the expertise that denizens of the theatrical demimonde need when whipsawed by doubt and confusion. We invite you to Ask Armin anything and everything, theater-related or not. He's here to serve.
This week: Armin on dream interpretation and theater as a career.
►Hey Armin: I'm a writer and I'm trying to write a play inspired by my dreams. Do you think it will work? K.

Dear K.,
It may work if the dreams are interesting and you are a good writer. It worked for me once for a short piece that I entered in a festival. In the dream I was being crucified in my front yard. My neighbor was also being crucified, but on a much nicer cross. Lots of chrome, you know; a real flashy number. It really burned me up. I regretted not shopping around for a nicer cross. I mean, I could have afforded it.
We got third place at the festival. Actually, there's a good lesson, too. Any play that deals, at least metaphorically, with crucifixion, abortion or the Holocaust will impress a certain type of theatergoer. You want to make the metaphor overt enough that they catch it, but not so blatant that they want to kick you in the nuts. There's a fine line, and one side of the line gets your nuts kicked. You just want to make sure they "get it" so they can go home feeling very smart and tell their friends about your deep play. "Deep." Ha! — YOURS, ARMIN

►Dear Armin: So, I’ve been doing theater since high school. I’ve loved a lot of it but now I’m almost 40, broke and really jaded about this chosen profession. I’m thinking I might be happier doing theater as a hobby and having a real career. Then again, I feel too old to be starting over. HELP! Thanks, Paul

Dear Panicky Paul,
You’re having a theater-life crisis, which is very common. It’s like a mid-life crisis, only you don’t run out and buy a Miata. I had my theater-life crisis in my early 30s. I was living in a one-room garage apartment, as underemployed as Maynard G. Krebbs, I had at least one STD and I was performing in experimental plays for 10 to 20 people a night. So, I decided to quit and find something more stable and rewarding. I tried professional gambler, mime, competitive fisher, pop artist and animal husbandry before I finally tried my hand at breaking and entering, which was an awfully smooth transition into burglary. After a relaxing six months in the hoosegow, I ended up crawling back to theater, the bitch goddess, and begging her to take me back. It was a good thing, too. She welcomed me with open arms, for she was my one true love. It sounds to me like you should go ahead and explore other things just to see what happens. Just because my exploration ended in jail time doesn't mean yours will. You know what they say: "If you love something then set it free. Unless you really, really love it. Then you want to guard it, jealously."  — YOURS, ARMIN
We invite you to Ask Armin via email at Go on and ask. When he doesn't have enough queries to ponder, he bothers the hell out of the TheaterJones editors. Also, we don't stand by or even agree with all of Armin's advice. So don't hold us responsible if things go terribly wrong.
 Thanks For Reading

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Theater: It's for Life
Or maybe just 10 to 20, with good behavior. Armin waxes poetic on theater as a career, and dream interpretation.
by Armin Zaphiratous

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