As an actor of 25 years, Tim Bagley has experienced no shortage of humiliating moments in his career, depictions of which he will bring to Santa Barbara with his one-man show “No Actors Allowed.” With a title taken from signs he frequently sees in parking lots of casting offices in Los Angeles, the show written and performed by Mr. Bagley will reveal the behind-the-scenes experiences of a working actor when featured in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s fourth annual Ghost Light Night on October 27.
In an interview with the News-Press, the “Will and Grace” and “Grace and Frankie” actor said the show largely consists of him telling stories about embarrassing moments throughout his acting career from its beginnings up until the present day. These range from wearing a Speedo on national television to getting a bird stuck in a wig he was forced to wear during a network run through of a TV show. When asked if the embarrassment lessens as one gets older and becomes noticed as an actor, Mr. Bagley said no. Humiliation is always a part of the gig.
“There’s always something that humbles you and grounds you… It never really lets up,” he said.
Over the course of one year, Mr. Bagley compiled stories from his life after one day he became agitated about having to walk a long distance from a parking spot to a casting office for an audition. As he explained, casting office parking lots in Los Angeles are often posted with signs that read “No Actors Allowed,” so those trying out for a part often have to walk far to get to auditions. While many people who watch movies and TV see the glamour in their stars, Mr. Bagley said he wanted to take them “behind the curtain” and show the humiliating moments they endure away from the cameras.
“I’m sure that every actor has stories like mine, they just don’t ever talk about it,” he said.
It may not be based on the happiest of memories, but “No Actors Allowed” is a comedy, with the humor at Mr. Bagley’s own expense. In his experience, writing something funny tends to come from his negative experiences and feelings.
“A lot of times when you write comedy, it often comes out of feeling bad about something,” he said.
While one may initially think the one-man nature of “No Actors Allowed” leaves Mr. Bagley without a foil and completely up to his own devices to be funny, the actor said that isn’t the case. In reality, he has a room full of comic foils sitting right in front of him.
“To me, my partner when I’m doing the one-man show is the audience,” he said.
For the most part, the actor performs the show as he wrote it, but will from time to time spontaneously react to however the audience responds to the written material. Describing the show’s writing as “conversational,” Mr. Bagley’s storytelling has received laughter at different moments each time he has performed “No Actors Allowed.” Whatever moments an audience collectively finds funny, Mr. Bagley said he also hopes his show makes the audience feel better about their own lives.
“I’d like them to think, ‘Thank God I’m not an actor,’” he said. Tickets for Mr. Bagley’s performance of “No Actors Allowed” at the ETC’s Ghost Light Night can be purchased online at www.etcsb.org or by calling (805) 965-5400 x104. According to a press release, Ghost Light Night will begin with a 5:00 p.m. reception at the Santa Barbara Club, located at 1105 Chapala St., and will be followed with a stroll up to The New Vic at 33 W Victoria St. for the performance. Tickets cost $250 apiece and the Ghost Light Night will raise funds for ETC’s programming and education outreach activities.