When Good Actors Go Bad for Good Reasons

A Note From Ian Armstrong

 This is my 12th show for Bag and Baggage and the fourth of our fifth anniversary season. It has been a whirlwind year! Starting off the season with ‘Of Mice and Men’ we got all the drama that we could want in that show which is great because the last three are all comedies.

Last weekend, we started blocking for ‘Rough Crossing’ and already we noticed that there is a uniting theme in each of these otherwise very different comedies that we have presented (Farndale, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Rough Crossing). Each of these shows have required actors to play actors, and often play actors who are not so good at their profession.






Ian Armstrong as Thelma Greenwood

In The ‘Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of “A Christmas Carol”‘, the characters we played were part of a troupe of terrible community theater actors who unwittingly break every accepted rule of performance like talking to the audience and each other, reading from the script onstage, and taking cell phone calls during a performance.


Ian Armstrong as The Host of the Garter

In ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’, the characters were 1950’s television actors playing their starring roles on a hit sitcom.

They sell products in the middle of a scene and also turn out to engage the studio audience as a vaudeville comedian turned sitcom actor might do.

Now, in ‘Rough Crossing’ the actors (most of us) are once again playing actors and theatre artists who are trying to put a play together at the last minute (which never happens as we are always 100% prepared) while taking a transatlantic cruise.

The challenge when actors play actors is to make the delineation clearly between when the actor is playing the character and when the actor is playing the character in the course of the character acting.

This feat has a high degree of difficulty, because there is a sharp divide between hysterical  lampooning of these character archetypes and just coming across like Ian Armstrong is just not a very good actor. I am. I swear.

Thankfully, Scott has now had plenty of experience in the last two shows in pulling it all together masterfully and this cast is incredibly talented and ready to accept the challenge of rounding out this incredibly fun and funny season.