Thinking about the the last six weeks of the semester (and next two years) I wrote the below letter to my classmates:
I have been thinking about the group a lot this week. These next six weeks (plus the two years after that) are going to be crazier than what we have experienced so far and a test on us as individuals and as a group.
I read an article from David Mamet last night, from the latest Backstage (Mar.15-21). He talks about why he thought the majority of the original members of the company he started are still working. He boils it down to the ideals that created “the company culture” and how those ideals was the knowledge that was being taught. He wasn’t teaching acting, but something deeper than that.
The ideals he mentioned in the last paragraph (see below) of the article are something we as a group (and individuals) need to grab with two hands and not let go. When I read it last night it felt like a slap in the face. I immediately had Karen read it and without hesitation she said, “That is what you [the group] need”. We are being challenged in ways we are not use to and did not fully expect when entering this program. What matters is how we respond. That is the knowledge that will serve us as people and actors for the rest of our lives. In these tough times it will be easy to complain that a teacher is acting unfairly. It will be easy not to show up for class that we think is insignificant. It will be easy to not give my all on a project because I think it is stupid or the teacher is being ridiculous. It will be easy to not prepare because I “got away” with it last time and was not called on it. It will be easy to complain about a certain role, play, director because I rather be working with someone else. The easy road will not serve, so I ask us to lean into, and participate fully, in what will be harder because there is where the knowledge and our true education it to be found.
The last paragraph reads:
“The evolved lesson of that culture [ideas held by Mamet’s company] included: Be prepared, be early, never complain, help your fellows, figure it out, and your capacity for work is vastly greater that you suppose. Those who found those lessons taxing, or uninteresting, went home; those who found them exhilarating stayed on.”