Friday, November 15, 2013

A Fly On The Wall, November 15, 2013

Bringing Up Baby
by Jim Murchison 

I have read Part 1 and Part 2 of Keir Cutler's I'm a Genius Syndrome articles. I really like the articles because they point to two very important points. Ego is an important part of the theatre. To create you need confidence which many people mistake for arrogance. Don't get me wrong. There are arrogant people in the theatre but you need conviction to give life to a new idea, however in the same way that people have difficulty hearing criticism of their children from others, they feel that criticism of their work is meddling. Sometimes that is true. People will say things about your work for the wrong reason or to inflate their own egos or to get a laugh, but people with good constructive observations, not playwright wannabes showing off will hold back on saying anything at all if they feel it is falling on deaf ears.

Theatre is about dialogue, so why would anyone want to hold that back at a public reading. This gets me to the second thing that I feel is important for an artist's development and the more important thing for growth: Humility. Anyone can write something and if I go back to my original analogy, “making the baby”, it is usually the easiest part and the most fun. Not always but usually. Sometimes you have to visit the fertility clinic, get procedures done or time creativity with your cycle and it can be tedious if you're struggling or under stress. However, that child will never grow to maturity if you don't learn to listen. It will fight you and never become what it could be if you don't learn to listen to yourself and to the child. 

I had an acting teacher that used to say listen to the little bell in you. If it's ringing, go back to the script and read it again and figure out what you’re doing wrong. The problem is that I am not sure everyone has that little bell, which is of course the doubt in the back of the mind.

There is definitely a time to storm ahead and take a direction regardless of what others might feel and that is usually when show time is looming. One should be tweaking not completely reassembling a work just before curtain.

Ultimately the balance between ego and humility; between conviction and openness is a delicate one, but it is something that you have to strive for and when you’re lucky enough to get it right it yields the greatest reward.

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