Katie Sims, TMU contributor and senior at USC
That's right. I'll admit it. That I, Katie Sims, have recently given in to temptation. I started to seriously date a guy that ordinarily would not have caused me major head-turn whiplash. However, because he was in a play with me, I fell fast. And hard. What was I thinking, right? I mean, I made a rule for myself a long time ago that I would never let this happen. Because as we all know, romance makes anything, including making theater, more complicated.
I was cast as Beatrice in a student directed production of Much Ado About Nothing last spring. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to get involved romantically with our Claudio. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I somehow managed to entangle myself in the all-too-convenient and highly likely showmance. In case you were wondering what I mean when I say "showmance" let me clarify with the help of Urban Dictionary. A showmance occurs "when actors engage in a romance for the run of a show. Once the run is over, so too is the romance. The term has now moved on to the general populace to describe any contrived romance," (Urban Dictionary, 2008).
But I should probably back up and explain a bit. Let me tell you the story of how Beatrice fell for Claudio.
I was coming off of a high from studying theater abroad for a full semester in London. I was worldly, cultured and so, so witty! The world was my cup of English breakfast tea. With my newfound knowledge of high comedy, Shakespeare, and the art of drinking copious amounts of Stella in London pubs, I returned to the tough city streets of Los Angeles. In all fairness, my guard was down.
On some level, I must have known that the end was coming. I had to know that the Beatrice/Claudio thing was not how Shakespeare or God had intended it.
On day two of rehearsal, I stood there and lusted after this guy anyway, caught in a trance that can only be called "show-goggle vision." Show goggles work much like beer goggles, which make people that you would otherwise never consider making a move on -- four Heinekens in -- start to look less like Courtney Love and more like Jennifer Love Hewitt.
It's not that Claudio wasn't a good-looking guy; he was. Claudio was definitely not my usual type because A) He was the most metro guy I have ever dated up to this point and B) He was -- drum roll please -- a freshman. So, why did I fall for it? Here is why I think Beatrice fell for Claudio and why so many of us fall for fellow actors/actresses during the course of the creative process.
Why showmances happen:
1) They're convenient! Let's face it. You spend a lot of time with these people whether you want to or not. Can you say easy access? 2) It's dramatic. Making live theater is a highly amplified, augmented atmosphere, often involving romantic subject matter. 3) We cannot always afford to be picky. I feel like I swim in a very small pool in which most of the fish are either uninterested or unavailable. 4) We fall in love more easily with someone when we see that person in the midst of doing something they love or are consumed with.
Though we were fond of each other and enjoyed a certain similar carnal sensibility and enjoyment of the world, Claudio and I both knew we were not a match made in heaven. We were on two very different pages. But I am proud to announce that since then I have been showmance sober for eighty-three days! In the event that I might want to slip, lucky for me, the next show that I'm in features an all-female ensemble.
Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more. Even Beatrice eventually found her Benedict, and someday, hopefully, I will too.