April 1, 2008
How apropos that I would make my first blog entry on April Fools Day. I love being foolish. I think that’s part of why I love being an actor and working with actors. Permission to be foolish. In Shakespeare’s work the Fool is often one of the wisest people in the story. In Twelfth Night, Feste the jester is described as "wise enough to play the fool." The fool was often sort of the conscious of the play. In that way I think actors can be society’s conscious. I think actors supply a real need. People go to the theatre, or to see a film to see their feelings, hopes and dreams depicted and played out, and, to use Aristotle’s word, to experience catharsis. And I think this catharsis is necessary for people. That is why we keep telling stories and listening to them--going to the theatre, seeing plays, reading stories. I am reminded of a few years ago when I did a play at Playmakers Rep in North Carolina. I have lived in Los Angeles virtually my entire life and started working as a professional actor at the age of six. With the exception of a few plays in High School and College, all the work I have ever done as an actor has been professional. Every time I did a play in Los Angeles, it seems there was always talk of this or that casting director or agent or movie star in the audience. There was always a bit of a “showcase” feeling--like doing the play might lead to more work. Don’t get me wrong—I know there is plenty of great work being done in the theatre in LA—I am just talking about my personal experience in some of the productions I have been involved in. So, anyway, when I did this play in Chapel Hill, NC it was really the first time in my life that I knew that there weren’t going to be any casting directors, or agents, or movie stars out in the audience. That my performance was completely between me and god and the audience. A contract based on love. I, the audience, come here to be entertained, moved, possibly changed. I, the actor, step onto to the stage to hopefully entertain, move, and change you. The theatre was filled every night. The people came to the theater—they needed to come--to share their humanity. I fell in love with acting in a way I never had before. Foolishness. What a gift.