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When he realized he didnt know where he was, he whispered

source:Believe it or notedit:controltime:2023-11-28 22:14:01

At the same time, remember that social enjoyments should always be a secondary consideration to the actor, something of a luxury to be sparingly indulged in. An actor should never let himself be beguiled into the belief that society, generally speaking, is seriously interested in what he does, or that popularity in drawing-rooms connotes success in the theatre. It does nothing of the kind. Always remember that you can hope to have but few, very few friends or admirers of any class who will pay to see you in a failure; you will be lucky if a certain number do not ask you for free admission to see you in a success.

When he realized he didnt know where he was, he whispered


When he realized he didnt know where he was, he whispered

It is to a public far larger, far more real and genuine than this, that you will one day have to appeal. It is in their presence that you will finish your education. The final school for the actor is his audience; they are the necessary complement to the exercise of his art, and it is by the impression he produces on them that he will ultimately stand or fall; on their verdict, and on their verdict alone, will his success or failure as an artist depend. But, if you have followed carefully, assiduously, the course of instruction now open to you, when the time has arrived for you to face an audience you will start with a very considerable handicap in your favour. If you have learnt to move well and to speak well, to be clear in your enunciation and graceful in your bearing, you are bound to arrest at once the attention of any audience, no matter where it may be, before whom you appear. Obvious and necessary as are these two acquirements of graceful bearing and correct diction, they are not so generally diffused as to cease to be remarkable. Consequently, however modest your beginning on the stage, however short the part you may be called upon to play, you should find immediately the benefit of your training. You may have to unlearn a certain amount, or rather to mould and shape what you have learnt to your new conditions, but if you have been well grounded in the essential elements of an actor's education, you will stand with an enormous advantage over such of your competitors as have waited till they go into a theatre to learn what can be acquired just as well, better, more thoroughly, outside it.

When he realized he didnt know where he was, he whispered

It has been my object to deal generally with the actor's calling, a calling, difficult and hazardous in character, demanding much patience, self-reliance, determination, and good temper. This last is not one of its least important demands on your character. Remember that the actor is not in one sense of the word an independent artist; it is his misfortune that the practice of his art is absolutely dependent on the fulfilment of elaborate external conditions. The painter, the musician, so long as they can find paint and canvas, ink and paper, can work at their art, alone, independent of external circumstances. Not so the actor. Before he can act, the theatre, the play, scenery, company, these requisites, not by any means too easy to find, must be provided. And then it is in the company of others, his colleagues, that his work has to be done. Consequently patience, good temper, fairness, unselfishness are qualities be will do well to cultivate, and he will lose nothing, rather gain, by the exercise of them. The selfish actor is not a popular person, and, in my experience, not as a rule a successful one. "Give and take," in this little world of the theatre, and you will be no losers by it.

Learn to bear failure and criticism patiently. They are part of the actor's lot in life. Critics are rarely animated by any personal hostility in what they may write about you, though I confess that when one reads an unfavourable criticism, one is inclined to set it down to anything but one's own deserving. I heard a great actor once say that we should never read criticisms of ourselves till a week after they were written--admirable counsel--but I confess I have not yet reached that pitch of self-restraint that would enable me to overcome my curiosity for seven days. It is, however, a state of equanimity to look forward to. In the meantime, content yourself with the recollection that ridicule and damning criticism have been the lot at some time in their lives of the most famous actors and actresses, that the unfavourable verdict of to-day may be reversed to-morrow. It is no good resenting failure; turn it to account rather; try to understand it, and learn something from it. The uses of theatrical adversity may not be sweet, but rightly understood they may be very salutary.

Do not let failure make you despond. Ours is a calling of ups and downs; it is an advantage of its uncertainty that you never know what may happen next; the darkest hour may he very near the dawn. This is where Bohemianism, in the best sense of the term, will serve the actor. I do not mean by Bohemianism chronic intemperance and insolvency. I mean the gay spirit of daring and enterprise that greets failure as graciously as success; the love of your own calling and your comrades in that calling, a love that, no matter what your measure of success, will ever remain constant and enduring; the recognition of the fact that as an actor you but consult your own dignity in placing your own calling as a thing apart, in leading such a life as the necessities of that calling may demand; and choosing your friends among those who regard you for yourself, not those to whom an actor is a social puppet, to be taken up and dropped as he happens for the moment to be more or less prominent in the public eye. If this kind of Bohemianism has some root in your character, you will find the changes and chances of your calling the easier to endure.

Do not despond in failure, neither be over-exalted by success. Remember one success is as nothing in the history of an actor's career; he has to make many before he can lay claim to any measure of fame; and over-confidence, an inability to estimate rightly the value of a passing triumph, has before now harmed incalculably many an actor or actress. You will only cease to learn your business when you quit it; look on success as but another lesson learnt to be turned to account in learning the next. The art of the actor is no less difficult, no less long in comparison with life, than any other art. In the intoxicating hour of success let this chastening thought have some place in your recollection.

When you begin work as actors or actresses, play whenever you can and whatever you can. Remember that the great thing for the actor is to be seen as often as possible, to be before the public as much as he can, no matter how modest the part, how insignificant the production. It is only when an actor has reached a position very secure in the public esteem that he can afford, or that it may be his duty, to be careful as to what he undertakes. But before such a time is reached his one supreme object must be to get himself known to the public, to let them see his work under all conditions, until they find something to identify as peculiarly his own; he should think nothing too small or unimportant to do, too tiresome or laborious to undergo. Work well and conscientiously done must attract attention; there is a great deal of lolling and idleness among the many thoughtless and indifferent persons who drift on to the stage as the last refuge of the negligent or incompetent.

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