Success is a journey, not a destination.
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