Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Notions 2/21/09

Aware of life's terrors, he affirms life without resentment.

Welcome friend.
One day I got damn sick and tired of "No." It seemed like all my life people had been telling me "No." "No you can't do that. No you can't go there. No that's not good enough. It can't be done, You'll never make it Give it up. Try something else." Etc.

A director told ne I couldn't possibly play a role I had just played at another theatre. Another director told me I wasn't right for a role I went on to play anyway, somewhere else. And another director told me I had given him the best audition he had ever seen but he promised the role to someone else. There was the temptation creeping up behind me to be frustrated, resentful and disgusted. To even say "no" to myself, about myself.

Well, I did get disgusted, but in a positive way. I got fed up listening to the nihilists and negativists and set about to change the direction in which I was paddling my canoe. I wanted to start hearing "Yes!"

I began to retool and reorganize my life and my career. I kept a record of how many auditions I had to take to get a job. I increased the number of auditions by going out for things that I possibly wasn't right for. It didn't annoy me when they said "no" because I was playing for higher stakes. And I found that I was getting cast anyway where I didn't expect to be. One director handed me the script of an Albee play and said "You're too young for the role, but you're all I've got so you'll have to do it. Do your best." I did. And I did so well that a woman who had been in the original Broadway cast came to see us, came backstage to tell me I was a "marvelous actor" and left without speaking to anyone else.

One night I saw Liza Minnelli, all by herself, on a platform in the middle of a packed Yankee Stadium in New York City sing to a cheering crowd. I said "Yes" that is what an entertainer can do!

Years later I was doing a play for an audience of about 3,000 people. When I reentered for my second scene they gave me an ovation. I was on stage by myself, I made them laugh, applaud and cheer. There is no bigger "Yes" than that. It wipes out all the "no."

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Life is like money. Save it, and spend it wisely.


Anonymous said...

Hi DB, You have just reminded me that "No" is the most popular word for Latinos. Even when they mean yes they say "No". I say "they" because even though I am of the Latino persuasion I do not have that habit. Keep on blgging dude. (rene)

Gerry said...

It is good to read this the day after my son's play opened in Los Angeles. A little while ago I dreamed I ran into him somewhere, and asked him how the first night went. He said, "Nobody came!" I said, "Nobody?" I thought, gee, tough audience in LA, but I did not think he made a mistake to try to do this, no matter what happened. I also thought it significant that I ran into a tree and got knocked on my but this day. I feel it had something to do with my perception that it might be tough for him to find an audience, to do with my own lack of confidence that I could find one, down there or anywhere. His dad disappeared twice just before the opening of two of his new plays in Phoenix. I had a terrible chronic fatigue bout in my early twenties so I always had problems wiih stamina which held me back. I had to have a little more special treatment to do theater. I did one staged reading of a play in Los Angeles and the New York actress I cast in the leading role absolutely sabotaged it, I thought on purpose. I should have played it myself. But no matter what I did in regard to my interest in theater I thought it bore fruit. Some kind of good results, just keeping on trying, and learning from the results. And I tried to instill this philosophy about theater in my son, that whatever vision inspired and excited him was worth trying to do. Gerry

Linda's World said...

Isn't it sad that the first word most babies say is "NO" because that's what they hear all the time too. And after being a mother to two, most of the time it's the right word to tell the little darlings. But was we get older, we like to hear "Yes" more than we hear "No." Good for stepped out of the box and there was a positive outcome. Linda in cold Washington

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is always wise to phrase your questions in such a way to get a yes, makes things go smoother in many ways.

Beth said...

How gratifying to get that wonderful, emphatic YES from that audience!

Hugs, Beth