STAGE DOOR SECRETS

Thursday 08 March 2012

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Everybody wants to know stage door secrets .  With all these well-known celebrities passing through the West End in the last few years there must be a sea of scandal that is out there - but how do we get to it?   The acting profession is high-octane - fragile egos can be easily bruised by a crushing review or a harsh public criticism in rehearsal by an over-zealous director.

There are so many actors out there and not nearly enough parts, so every time one person is cast, twenty noses are put out of joint.  Jealousy and envy must surely be rife we assume - do actors really sabotage each other to move their way up from chorus girl to lead like we see in trashy films like Showgirls or classics like All About Eve?  We want to know!  And what about affairs between co-stars?  Many a high profile couple have embarked on a steamy relationship with their co-star on film sets and theatreland is no different.

Who hates who?  Which shows are pretending they are doing well but really have their producers crying themselves to sleep at night?  Which actors throw diva strops behind the scenes and which are Snow White personified?   Then there's booze, drugs...the list goes on.   We live in a society where we devour celebrity tittle tattle then demand more.   Weekly magazines like Closer, OK! and the National Enquirer sell by the bucketload because we want to know the juicy secrets of the stars we like to think we know.  When big Hollywood stars such as Keira Knightley, Josh Hartnett and Kim Cattrall and homegrown faces like Stephen Fry and Gemma Arterton start treading the boards on the London stage we feel like we are that little bit closer to them.  We can sit in the audience and see the faces from our magazines up close, but that's not enough.  We clamour for more.  We want dirt on them so juicy to pass along to our friends that it will make their jaws drop.

So who holds the secrets?  You would be surprised how much scandal makes its way to the stage door of a theatre.  Sat in that little cubby hole for hours on end the stage doorkeeper sees the stars arrive and leave, and also the supporting actors, stagehands, producers et all that surround them.  A finely-tuned stage doorkeeper's ear can overhear a kaleidoscope of shocking trivia.  Unfortunately most of them are well aware that discretion is the best policy...if they want to keep their job.  Think of them as the Beefeaters outside Buckingham Palace - all eyes and ears but no mouth.  Now that's not to say that they are all saints.   Holding so many secrets isn't easy, so eventually something juicy is bound to slip out to someone.  In confidence of course.  But then that scandal recipient will indubitably tell someone else - in confidence.  And so on.  But there's the rub.  By the time the gossip filters down to us it's just that.  Gossip. Unsubstantiated. Remixed. Exaggerated.  Darn it.

It's so difficult to know fact from factique.  A shiny fact-impersonator much like QVC's prized gemstone diamonique that has all the lustre of a diamond but none of its worth.  But then isn't that what gossip is all about?  Unsubstantiated, salacious, delicious.  And that's what we want.  Leave the cold hard facts to the star's lawyers.  After all in Celebville the only thing worse than people talking bs about you is nobody talking about you at all.  They can't afford to be on no-one's radar.  So however much stars may think they want a tight lid kept on stage door secrets , if someone lets the lid slide off for us every now and again that can't be sooo bad, can it?

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