For the past eight or nine years, regardless of the country, school or genre, I have played villains in every single play. In my solo LAMDA qualifications my roles have gone from Satan to inmates of a mental institute and even ranging so far as twisted imaginary friends. On the grand set, so to speak, I've plotted, stabbed, connived, lied and evil-laughed myself to death. Iago, Shylock, the White Witch, Mr Sowerberry the Undertaker, Hansel and Gretel's stepmother ... you get the idea.
But I wouldn't trade these roles for anything else in the world. It's not that I'm an evil person (though that is open to some debate...), I just love villains. And these are my top ten reasons why.
1) You always get the best costume. No daft brightly-coloured hats or stupidly curled hair for you - just sleek, mean and dangerous. If you're lucky, you might get a swishy cape or two.
2) You get the best lines. Sarcastic snarks, heartfelt lies, sneaky manipulation of completely innocent situations to meet your own ends ... you get the idea. Who needs those soppy declarations of love!
3) Within seconds of walking on stage, most of the audience will probably already love you. Playing Iago in Shakespeare's Othello several years ago, I actually had people cheering for me when I came on!
4) You don't have to bother trying to keep your character sympathetic to the audience. While the hero has to be careful to stay a hero, you can do whatever the heck you want, and never give a flying donut what the pesky listeners have to say.
5) You aren't (usually) expected to break into song and dance to express your joy at a situation.
6) You never have to bother rescuing your love interest. Actually, you don't even have to bother with a love interest at all.
7) Stabbing people and running away is so much more fun than trying to talk the matter out "like gentlemen".
8) No angst sessions. You've got too much plotting to do.
9) If you die, you are pretty much guaranteed a pretty epic death scene. Usually with some ironic twist in it whereby your oh-so-cunning plan blows up in your face. Either that, or one last snark at the hero - you have to keep up appearances after all.
10) You don't have to put up with an annoying sidekick. It's minion or cannon fodder for you.