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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A cheap trick of unhappy people

“If you decide to be an actor, stick to your decision. The folks you meet in supposed positions of authority – critics, teachers, casting directors – will, in the main, be your intellectual and moral inferiors. They will lack your imagination, which is why they became bureaucrats rather than artists; and they lack your fortitude, having elected institutional support over a life of self reliance. They spend their lives learning lessons very different from the ones you learn, and many or most of them will envy you and this envy will express itself as contempt. It’s a cheap trick of unhappy people, and if you understand it for what it is, you need not adopt or be overly saddened by their view of you. It is the view of folks on the verandah talking about the lazy slaves. There is nothing contemptible in the effort to learn and to practice the art of the actor – irrespective of the success of such efforts – and anyone who suggests there is, who tries to control through scorn, contempt, condescension, and supposed (though undemonstrated) superior knowledge is a shameful exploiter.”

– David Mamet
True and False: Heresy and Common Sense For The Actor, 1997

1 comment:

mike said...

I met Mamet once. I was working as a theatre student at a charity auction that was combined with Robert Brustein's retirement party. I had to walk around with a really big hat that had one of the auction prizes on top. I found it too embarassing and got fairly wasted through the course of the evening, when I spotted Mamet. I cornered him briefly with talk about poker which i had heard he enjoyed. One of my teachers spotted wasted mike babbling to Mamet with a huge paper mache hat on and came in and broke it up. I didn't even get to the part about why did he start a theatre school if he thought theatre school was a waste of time.