Sunday, May 30, 2010

Inventing Art

Success is a journey, not a destination.

Arthur Ashe
I used to say that I reinvented the art of acting with every new role I got. I was half joking but there was some truth to it. Naturally I would bring my skill and my accumulated experience into rehearsal. But there was always a new landscape, a new fabric to the event.

There was q totally different character to portray and give life to, with a different constellation of mental, emotional and psychological elements to him. Perhaps there was an unfamiliar playwright who presented a language to that character that I had to get used to and master in order to express him properly. Or there was a director new to me and hence getting accustomed to a different way of conducting rehearsals. And maybe there were other artists in the production I had never met before. That meant adjusting my way of working with other's ways to create a harmonious whole. And sometime it was an unfamiliar theatre building itself that I needed to learn how to work in. So there was a lot of starting from the beginning.

"A good reputation may get you to the pitchers mound, but it won't win the game."* A few times I witnessed famous actors, stars, come into rehearsal with the attitude that their fame would play the role for them. After all, they evidently thought. people would come to see them anyway so all they needed to do was show up. I vowed that if I ever became famous, which I didn't, I would never let that attitude control my earnest desire to knuckle down, conquer the role and really act it. I owed that to the audience, to the author, to my fellow artists and to myself.

Since I had set about reinventing the art, every time I finished a production I came away knowing a little bit more about acting than I did when I went into it. Almost every actor can say the same if they conscientiously do it. So can every tennis player and every ball player.

Success is not the end of the road. Success is doing it, doing it well and doing it better next time.


DB - The Vagabond


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

Life is a journey...

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Very interesting read DB. There is always a rainbow each time I read your enriching life experiences. Never mind the cracks. That is part of wabi sabi.

Like I mentioned before, should any of my girls pursued acting as a career pathway to get away from classroom academic overload, then I can very well say, "they are mistaken."

So it's a relief somehow that they didn't. However, I gave them a go to choose what they wanted to do inasmuch as I admittedly confess they let me down one way or another.

However, they did follow their own dreams.

pacifica62 said...

I read your stories and recollections of the theatre and acting and I think to myself that this is a person that worked very hard to do what he did and he learned to do it well. Then I hear stories about some of the so called actors of today who are so egotistical, whiney, full of their own self importance and they get paid a whole lot of money to do what they do. Can they act? I really don't think so. How ironic that you spent so much time studying your craft and trying to make it better and you managed to make a living doing it. Many of the popular actors today never studied a darned thing and they get paid millions and more than enough to make a good living. I dunno, but something here does not seem fair to me. I think you are far more successful than they will ever be.

Liz said...

Home is the journey in which we live and hopefully learn.

DB said...

Thank you Pacifica