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Steroids, Soulpepper, and Roles for Women

A graphic of Tony Nappo edited to appear as multiple people sitting in a circle as a spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous. At the top and bottom of the image is text that reads
/By / Aug 17, 2016
Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.
1. One of the hardest things to get used to as an actor is the inconsistent nature of getting paid. You can potentially make ten, twenty, thirty thousand in a month and then make nothing for six months, or any variation in between.  Of course, it also doesn’t help if, when you are not working, you spend all your time and money partying. I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea if acting programs taught classes in money management or some form of business course to complement the artistic components of their programs. I know it especially would have helped me as a younger actor. There were more than a few years there when I was literally living hand to nose.
2. When people tell me not to beat myself up, I always tell them, “HE fucking started it!”
3. Years ago, I did Much Ado About Nothing in Halifax. I had never done Shakespeare professionally and wanted to see if I sucked or not, in a town where people mostly wouldn’t know me if I did. I played Benedick to Jenny Raymond’s Beatrice and according to audiences reaction and reviews, I did alright.
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It was an outdoor production and I have to say I fucking hated acting outside. Some shows were wet and some shows were hot as shit—you don’t want to be at a Shakespearean wedding without any shade. The bugs were nuts at night. I just found the whole thing physically distracting and unpleasant. I do, however, quite like watching outdoor theatre. The shows in High Park or Withrow Park, when the space is utilized cleverly, are absolutely beautiful. I respect the hell out of the actors who are up there in the shows, too, because I know how hard it is to focus on the work with all of those natural distractions.
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4. I have to admit that I respect and admire the shit out of Albert Shultz for what he has done with Soulpepper, despite how much I enjoy making fun of him. He really is a delightful guy and a hard fucking worker.

I also really do admire his style. I had written a very public post, last year, basically saying fuck Soulpepper, I was never gonna work there (in response to something that had happened). He never responded at all. Until last week, when I read the next Soulpepper season announced and I saw a show that we had specifically talked about doing together for years without me in it. (I won’t mention the show out of respect for all those involved in the project.) To me it was a very direct response to my public comments. And the response was, “No. Fuck YOU. We’re never gonna ASK you to work here.”

And, if you know me at all, you’ll know that that’s the kind of response I actually completely accept and respect.

5. Just sat at Queen and Yonge for an hour watching people walk by. People tell you so much by how they walk. The amount of space they take up: whether they are private or invasive. If they have somewhere to go or they are going nowhere at all, if they’re late, or angry, or tired or hungry or lonely, or lost, frustrated. Whether they are with a friend or a lover or if they’re searching for someone to be with. If they are rich or poor, cultured or crass, putting on a front. Old and young are fairly obvious but young in spirit shines through at every age. Whether someone has been physically injured or is recovering from injuries or if they are broken down and beyond repair. If they still have hope or if they have given up or are right at the brink. It’s a valuable exercise. And a valuable tool to keep in the box—the ability to draw from it. I’m not a big physical transformer for the most part but I like to sneak in nuances without seeming forced whenever I can.
6. I’m 48 years old and I’ve turned into the old man who takes out his partial plate and offers them to little kids who are missing teeth.  I would retrace my steps to see how exactly I arrived at this point  but fear it would be even more depressing than just accepting it.

7. One of the funniest compliments I ever received came from Jennifer Tarver, who I respect and love. We had just worked together on The Cosmonaut’s Last Message. She came up to me after a performance of Peggy Pickitt sees the Face of God.

“You were great in THIS show,” she said.

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8. I selected Old Dogs on Netflix, with John Travolta and Robin Williams, and instead a message appeared on the screen that said: No. Don’t be an asshole.
9. The only way that that Rob Ford crack video could be any more predictably pathetic and anticlimactic is if Katherine Heigl co-starred in it.
10. When we did Sudden Death, I actually went on steroids for 3 months.
I don’t have any great story here. I didn’t feel any aggression or side effects of any kind.
I just wanted to make you look at how big my arms were. LOOK AT MY FUCKING ARMS!!!!! LOOK AT THEM!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!
11. There was one time I was sitting in an audition waiting room with Daniel Kash and he observed that  “You know, I know every single guy who has walked in here, and not one woman.” He was right. About twenty journeymen had come and gone—guys over forty-five with solid resumes who had all been around. But alongside this parade of old farts was a parade of beautiful twentysomething females. And I posted at the time about what a shitty deal it was for women but also what waste it was for any given project. I mean, after twenty years of doing this shit, you’ve got serious fucking chops, you really know what you are doing. Any guy who was in the building that day could have played the part I read for, as could many of the women that I know over forty-five. Except they weren’t there. It makes so little sense for the opportunities to disappear just as those women are moving into the master category of their craft.
(UPDATE) 12. Congratulations to Ed Gass Donelly for noticing there were only eleven entries this week. There. That counts as twelve now.
Tony Nappo

Tony Nappo

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.



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