Friday, February 1, 2013

Limber Up

Jack be nimble,

Jack be quick,

Jack jump over

the candlestick.



Hello Ken


An actor I know told me abut a year he spent in London. He went there to take a particular course in movement for actors. While there he occasionally went to the theatre and did a few other things, but almost his entire focus was on that rigorous movement training. He did no acting at all. At the end of the year he returned to New York and said he never was so limber in his life. It's an excellent and necessary thing for any actor to be nimble. Those who aren't are deficient.

After my actor friend returned he went out on auditions and started working again. But he complained that one year away from doing any acting work had taken its toll on him. He said he had lost his edge on some of the other aspects of the actor's craft and felt he had to catch up. He said the other actors around him were quicker at learning their lines, finding their characters and processing the director's needs. He may have been nimble of body but was no longer so nimble of mind.

Every play worth doing (and I admit some of them are not), from the silliest superficial farce to the most powerful thunder drama, has a lesson to teach. And that lesson reaches out across all time and humanity. As with any art, theatre has a right to affect and change people's lives. But it can only do that when the theatre artists are aware of what the lesson is and how to teach it. A play can be like a grand sunrise, a beautiful picture that exists in both time and space. It is the responsibility of the actors, and especially the director, to know what the play says, not just a chain of events but an unfoldment of discoveries about those events and the people they affect. They reach the other side with the author's flame still burning brightly. Those in the play who aren't alert to those things (I admit I've had the misfortune to work with some of those, sometimes) never get there. They kick the candlestick over and put out the flame.

Theatre is a metaphor of life. In every important activity of life one must remain alert, nimble, quick and limber in every way.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


1 comment:

Geo. said...

Indeed DB., As you wisely say,"one must remain alert, nimble". Never more so than now. As I get older, I have to concentrate harder on the moment, be ready to sidestep quickly. All the world's a stage and sometimes I have to walk over the trap door.