This is a terrific essay by Jake Silbermann. The interesting thing about it is that it gives you some insight from an actor’s point of view. Silbermann is pointing out something that is patently obvious to many of us but that seems completely revelatory to so many others; and that’s simply that “gay” and “straight” aren’t character traits.
The sad part is that so many casting agents haven’t figured this out yet. And far too many agents are still of the old, old school where they counsel their gay clients not to take “gay roles” and they counsel their straight clients not to take them either because of the “fear,” as Silbermann points out of being typecast.
Hard to believe this question is still asked because “gay” isn’t a character trait anymore than straight is. Can you be type cast as straight? It may be that when we meet a new character on screen or stage, we assume they are heterosexual, but we don’t know who they are to the story. Is this the hero, best friend, love interest, antagonist, etc.? “Gay” is not a negative or a positive. It’s not descriptive. It’s really more of a circumstance, albeit a vital one. The point is being gay is not character defining.
Silbermann is a fine actor. He was terrific on the soap and he’s fast becoming a go-to actor in the theatre. He’s currently in Richard Greenberg’s Assembled Parties on Broadway. I haven’t seen this piece yet, but Greenberg is a playwright who relies on smart actors. You don’t get good notices in a Greenberg piece if you’re not a smart, savvy actor.
In addition to the Kickstarter that Silbermann talks about in this essay, he also wrote and co-starred in a fine short film called Stuffer a few years back. If you only knew him from his TV work, this piece instantly showed off his broad range.
Anyhow, take a read: