I like to call it "hell", but that may be just my personal preference.
The question that, of course, comes up now is "Why do you still do it if you hate it so much?" But that is a topic for a different post that I may never write.
Anyway, theatre is magic. Really and truly. But not because of the transformation actors have to submit themselves to, or the minimalist properties a good set utilizes. No, it's magic... because it's all about taking a group of people who positively hate each other and making it seem like they love each other (and sometimes vice versa, but not often).
What's really fascinating is that actors tend to be very touchy-feely, lovely-dovey, sappy-wappy people (I feel a bit like Jane Goodall... Thespians in the Mist or somesuch. An outside observer). Very outgoing, very... well, flamboyant, for lack of a better word. And theatre is very sexual. Which is why everyone is always hooking up and doing naughty things during productions (not my theory, Helena's). or wanting to hook up. Or going around draping themselves all over other people (Steve... >_>). And they are doing this with people they don't actually like very much. That's the fun bit.
Which is why people think actors are horny, gay, and easy. All of us. Drama is one giant, swinging orgy. Every night after rehearsals. And you aren't invited.
You can argue that this conclusion is flimsy and silly beyond belief. And that's okay, because I'm not going to listen to you anyway. :D
No, if you don't believe me, believe Jamie, a real live non-actor. He came to a rehearsal one day for Up the Down Staircase for no particular reason. We were talking and he said to me "You know, I always thought of Drama Guild as a real hotbed of homosexual activity." I said "Ah... and we've proven you right, then?"
He said "Yeah, pretty much."
This little anecdote means very little unless you've actually seen about five people crushed together on the radiator, sharing snacks and pouring over the latest Cosmo. Or Pat in drag. Or... Alice pretending to take off her underwear. And so on and so forth.
And this sort of thing actually gets worse when a) the cast is large and b) when the run of the show/the run of rehearsals goes on for-bloody-ever. Think about it. Forty-some horny people forced into repeated contact with thirty-nine other people they can't stand but still want to have sex with. It's madness.
And now we go ahead and apply this equation to the cast of the Lord of the Rings movies. Go ahead. Think about it. I'll wait.
Mmm. Interesting isn't it? Therefore, I make the astonishing conclusion that, whether or not much of the cast actually is sleeping together, they are most definitely thinking about it. Considering it. Daydreaming. Or... they were. As all the urges tend to fade after productions end. Therefore, while all of the Real People Fiction is fiction...
... some of it may not be too far off the mark.
Aaaaaaand. This is all true. ( "...put that in an ironic typeface or something, for the Americans." - Ian McKellen)