Imagination as Power

Today I went to an audition at one of my favorite theatres in Los Angeles.  I sometimes take bold risks in my auditions, because that is what I hope and expect my students to do.  Often I must travel the road of uncomfortability as an actor.  I must step out on a limb and embrace my own imaginative slant within a part.   How I view it is this:  you may never get the chance to play that part, so make the most of your audition.  Be creative.  Use your imagination!

As a teacher and director,  I am looking for actors to take big risks and own them.  I do not mean sacrificing truth for effect, but I applaud actors who can use their imagination within the text to enlighten and teach me things I didn’t know were there.  There is always more to uncover and discover in art, so I look for actors that are willing to bring fresh eyes to my text and vision.

Today I stood out there on that limb at my audition.  I knew I had to jump in, for myself, not for anyone’s approval, but so I could use my own imagination to inhabit the world of the play.

Actors are by nature people pleasing individuals;  we want you to like us, to cast us, to applaud.  But what if we took our power back and did our quest just for the “experience” of it.   Today I embodied a text bravely and maybe foolishly, but I did it for myself.  I “followed my own line” as one of my teachers use to say in NY.  I had done my homework, so I made bold choices on the spot, and invested in that decision a 100%.  I won.

I have seen too many actors fail by fear, by playing it safe for the fear of being too big, and not committing.  An actor loses their power when they listen to that fearful voice inside.  They look foolish playing it safe.  We are here to jump in, to jump off the highboard.  To risk.  To get out of our heads.  To jump bravely.  The net is there, if you do it for yourself.

Art as Canvass

I want to thank Roger Ebert, who I grew up listening to and relishing in his wise critique of the movies we love.  He inspired me as a movie critic and as a human being, especially as he ended his life.

I always think it is important to observe a person’s exit in this canvass we call life.  It is easy to begin and start out great.  For example, I have rarely met a child I didn’t like, but to march through life with passion and humility when one loses one’s ability to speak and eat and drink as he did, is to carry on with a magnanimous sense of joy, and courage. He is a true hero in my book and artist of the highest order.

Yes, he won a Pulitzer and yes he had a star on the walk of fame, but he showed us, in the end, true grace.  A canvass to be writen on even after his exit.  What will your canvass be?  How will you leave your mark?  I hope to be as brave as Roger was and as courageous.  He will surely be missed.

Goodbye to one of my Hero’s

Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As ‘A Triumph’

Roger called the overall human experience “poignant,” “thought-provoking,” and a “complete tour de force,” film critic Roger Ebert praised existence Thursday as “an audacious and thrilling triumph.” “While not without its flaws, life, from birth to death, is a masterwork, and an uplifting journey that both touches the heart and challenges the mind,” said Ebert, adding that while the totality of all humankind is sometimes “a mess in places,” it strives to be a magnum opus and, according to Ebert, largely succeeds at this goal. “At times brutally sad, yet surprisingly funny, and always completely honest, I wholeheartedly recommend existence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then what are you waiting for? It is not to be missed.” Ebert later said that while human existence’s running time was “a little on the long side,” it could have gone on much, much longer and he would have been perfectly happy.