Friday, July 25, 2008

The importance of being earnest

Sometimes acting feels like a vain, superfluous exercise, of no importance in a world troubled with poverty, slavery, genocide, famine, flooding, global warming, noxious pollution, rain forest devastation, corporate greed, and children who can't read.

"Why bother?", I often ask. Do I, a simple storyteller, add any value to the world?

David Mamet, award-winning playwright, director, and screenwriter, answers in his book True and False:

Actors used to be buried at a crossroads with a stake through the heart... [their] performances so troubled the onlookers that they feared their ghosts. An awesome compliment.

Those players moved the audience not such that they were admitted to a graduate school, or received a complimentary review, but such that the audience feared for their soul. Now that seems to me something to aim for.


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