Sunday, January 9, 2011

The show must go on.

Two actors, two shows, two outcomes.

Christopher Tierney, who was injured during a preview performance of “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” returned to the theater two weeks after his accident to watch the show. He has some rehab to get through, but once he's well enough, he'll be able to take back the job three other actors were required in order to fill his shoes in the show.

That's a feel good story. Actor takes an ugly tumble, but LIVES and will be able to continue working on the same production he's committed to. It's amazing, it could have been so much worse all things considered. It was an ugly head-first fall. I have warm and fuzzies for this one.

Not so much for “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” lead Andy Whitfield. My heart goes out to this actor. It's amazing as an actor to watch another actor on a show with as much balls (no pun, well maybe a small pun, intended) as this one. Really one of the bloodiest and most naked shows I've encountered. But, skin and gore aside, it really does have some great story-telling. And so much of it falls on the commitment and heart of Whitfield.

(Warning: Spoiler Alert!) I watched the episode where Whitfield's Spartacus kills his gladiator brother in blood, Varro. I missed this episode when it originally aired and what not prepared for the outcome. The whole scene had me agog. Literally, hand over mouth agape in shock. I really didn't think Spartacus would go through with it. So, when Varro (played for every last tear by Jai Courtney) sacrifices himself at the hands of Spartacus, my stomach turned – from both the graphic depiction of the death and from the well-played and believable anguish of Andy Whitfield.

My husband and I really root for this show and for Whitfield. He's just that likeable, believable. It's crushing to see someone, who's basically unknown, earn a juicy lead role, carry it, and then have it all taken away. “The show must go on” isn't a cliché. It's a very real aspect of this business. Even a namesake lead of the show – the heart and soul – can't stop production to tend to his disease. I wish Mr. Whitfield a speedy recovery from his cancer. I hope he kicks it's ass. Then after he's done kicking cancer's ass, I hope I see him back kicking ass on another show.

I totally understand the decision to continue the show. It really is good and postponing production would mean losing their cast and crew to other projects, but it doesn't mean that I'm not disappointed for Mr. Whitfield. I also don't envy the actor chosen to fill Mr. Whitfield's spot. It can't be a great feeling knowing that the role earned is only because the original actor is fighting a real life-or-death battle. Ugh.

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