Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fill The Silo

Everything depends on execution,
Having just a vision is no solution.

Stephen Sondheim
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If artistry can be described as blue collar work then I certainly qualify. I was an assembly line actor, a factory worker forging visions into realities, hammering ideas into events, a card carrying union member, skilled labor who knew my craft.

It's apparent that one of the issues of life is that we must spend a lot of time and energy accumulating a large store house, a full silo, of common sense. One of the rules a union actor must follow is to perform the play as directed. It's a very good rule when the director has a vision of the play. It means the actor's work will be consistent with that vision and with the qualities of the rest of the production. And in most cases it works out that way. But there are a few times, now and then, when the director does more harm than good. I call them destroyers instead of directors. Three of the biggest mistakes a director can make are not being completely familiar with the script, casting favorite people in roles they are not suited for and trying to make the play say something it doesn't. Those three faults can be summed up by saying the director did not think ahead. Considering what the results of something are likely to be before you start out is a matter of common sense.

I once read a history of the US invasion of North Africa during World War Two. In one case the generals in America made a careful inventory of everything they would need when they got there. But they loaded the ships in such a way that the most important first weapons were in the bottom and other things like food, medicine and land vehicles were at the top. When the ships arrived they couldn't port because of enemy fire so the land vehicles were useless and the marines had to unload them and a lot of other things before they could even get to the weapons. A lot of soldiers died. Someone was not using common sense.

It's not difficult to think things through and consider possibilities and alternatives. Why don't we do it? Because we don't know we are supposed to? Because we're lazy? Because we have faith that everything will work out just fine? Because we don't envision what the result is and are just following blindly along as things develop?

There's a Persian proverb that says "One pound of common sense requires ten pounds of common sense to apply it." A two hour opening night in the theatre may require 200 hours of preparation or more. I used to enjoy hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I had a book, a trail guide with maps, which told me about the trail I was considering. I always checked it first. I wanted to know how difficult the climb was going to be and where it came out before I started. I learned that lesson the hard way.

The hard way is the way most of us learn common sense and I suppose there isn't any other way that is so effective. We know enough not to put our hands in the fire because of what happen the first time we did. But why do we have to suffer and make others suffer because we didn't do the sufficient thinking ahead of time? That's just another one of life's mysteries.

The Vagabond
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WINTER QUESTION
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Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.

You have the Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
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DB - The Vagabond

2 comments:

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

It seems at times that the higher in an organization a person goes, the less common sense of every day activities they have. This kind of works with politics as well.

Rose said...

Oranization is super important in every phase of life.

I agree with you regarding the three blunders a director can make by not being familiar with a script.

The article about World War Two is very sad that lives were lost due to an individual did not think things through. So sad....

Great Post

Hugs, Rose