It all started when I found these old pictures of performances long ago. I asked Thoughtful child what he thought of drama through the years and he sent me his musings across the country from college....................
This is Thomas- or Thoughtful Child,
as I’m known hereabouts- here to give my thoughts on acting, as per
ma Chere Mama’s request.
It’s been some years since I
debuted on the stage- my first performance was as Alvin the Lost Boy
in Peter Pan, directed by the great Julie Brunais. Alvin was the one
who, in the movie, was portly, somewhat dim, and wore a bear outfit.
It was hardly my most dignified role. Since then, I’ve been in
twenty-five-odd productions to date, a figure only recently surpassed
by Creative Child’s now thirty-odd.
Needless to say, one doesn’t act
in twenty-five plays without enjoying it, so I suppose I should say
what it is about acting that draws me so. There isn’t a simple
answer, but there are a few musings that I’ve had that might be
Firstly, acting is something that I
do pretty well. This is most likely due to the fact that Mum and Dad
are both rather theatrical people, and the family’s been in plays
for many, many years. Because I’m fairly good at acting, two things
come to mind: the value acting has for my own personality, and the
reaction of the audience to the performance.
My personality is unquestionably
dramatic. My older brother once told me that I have a tendency to be
‘histrionic,’ which I thought was a class-A word; you have to
hand it to David, he’s come a long way verbally-speaking since his
re-me-dial days. Anyway, I’m naturally histrionic, so to be onstage
and performing feels very right and proper. At least for me, there’s
no feeling more glorious than finishing a play and knowing, in all
humility, that you did a very good job. Bowing to applause is like
drinking fine wine.
However, much as I appreciate and
value (hm, perhaps too much?) the glory of the stage, I don’t
believe that the getting of glory is the point of acting. The
audience applauds because they’ve been moved by what they’ve
seen; for some reason, impossible to pin down precisely, the
performance has touched a chord within the observers. For me, to move
an audience to feel in their own selves what the character is meant
to feel is beautiful; by doing so, I help the onlookers to understand
themselves anew, to see deeper into their souls and glimpse a new
facet of their humanity. It sounds high-falutin’ (and a little
oxymoronic), but to act is a deed of truth.
There you have it: my more
thought-out and exalted reason for enjoying what I do. Is this always
my prime motivation? In spite of desiring the glory?