Thursday, December 17, 2009

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead

If your love is true, strong and innocent it can pass through the lives of evil men and still remain pure.

DB - The Vagabond
Romeo: Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops, --

Juliet: O! swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

Romeo: What shall I swear by?

Juliet" Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self.

Is there such a thing as constancy? I believe there is, although I would certainly not hold myself up as an example of it. I have known and admired couples who have maintained a constant love affair through many decades of married life. I also knew a couple who got married to each other three times and divorced twice. There seems to be a wry consistency there. These days the news is filled with accounts of infidelity among the rich and famous, of sexual wickedness in high places (to paraphrase).

50 years ago I got married to the theatre. It took me many years to realize and understand that. Meanwhile, everything else, including my social life, took second place. I used to blame myself for that. I don't any more. Recently a woman said to me that she admired me for sticking with my career for so long, even through the hard, thin times. It's true that the life of an artist, particularly a performing artist can be hard on one's social and family life. Some make it work, some don't. For those who don't it means that people are going to get hurt along the way.

It may seem selfish and cruel, and it is. Make believe can carry one a long way. How long it does determines how many people get hurt. But eventually an artist has to come to understand himself well enough to know how not to fool himself and.others, and if he does, the cruelty will stop.

There were many moments in my life when I would step off the stage after a performance and say to myself "I love this. I love this more than life itself." And with that attitude nothing was going to stop me.

An actor cannot work alone. He is surrounded by people: other actors, designers, choreographers, stage managers, directors, managers, producers, critics. And some of them are "evil" men and women. Some of them will do everything they can to stop him, interfere with him, discourage him and bring him down. It comes with the trade.

An actor has to constantly fight for the right to do his work. But it's the imperturbable love of doing it that carries him through the attacks with grace and innocence so that his work is pure and strong. As far as I know there is no other way.

Still searching for a question to make the Winter Quiz,


Rose said...

I'm glad you fought for your rights and you did it because you loved your work. Kudos!

Hugs, Rose

Big Mark 243 said...

I really identified with this entry. Like acting, boxing or any other indvidual sport for that matter, is dependent mainly upon the strength and love of the individual for their vocation. Even with the support system that cocoons the individual, it is still that person who makes what it is.

Each result is based on the choices of the person who is pursuing that 'thing'. Accepting the consequence for that is a heavy weight for someone to bear. I don't think that people who haven't made a committment to a craft like that can really understand what it means to the person who pursues their dream.

Indigo said...

Wonderful post. I can relate to this on so many levels as a writer. At times it's hard put to remember there are other things in my life that require my time, patience and compassion as well. (Hugs)Indigo

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

Winter Quiz Question: As you wait for the next season to arrive, what do you long for?

Gerry said...

I think it is a wonderful thing to have a career in theater and I do think that since it is so difficult to pull off, it must come first. I was never able to go very far in actually doing theater, getting my plays up, so I know how valuable these opportunities are and how much has to transpire for them to happen, and how talented and lucky and determined someone has to be to go find the opportunity to make it happen. If you have been faithful to this career, to my mind, you have accomplished something rare and unusual and wonderful. I am in awe even though I do not beat up on myself for not being able to have that career. I knew it was not in the cards for me, but I think everone is constrained to do the best they can with the breaks they get, the life they get to lead. I am thinkful to be as healthy as I am and to have lived this long and to have enjoyed my family, friends, and writing as much as I have. I do feel related to you if a little distantly. I might be one of those playwrights you would have said was awful at that playhouse company, and I knew a lot of awful playwrights, too, but they were very sincere about what they were doing and I rspected them for that, and some of them even had talent and that was exciting. I am very happy to be reading your blog, DB, as I love the theater even if I could not quite get married to it!