Monday, May 21, 2012

Again on Generosity (A Recurring Theme Here)

I know a talented guy so obviously out for only himself that he's drained all joy out of rooting for him.  He's also made trusting him a foolish thing to do.  Although the root of the problem appears to be his innate selfishness, it's worsened by an error he's made in analyzing the field: he's come to the conclusion that because we're all 'competitors' in theater we must avoid doing anything for each other, and he assumes that all other actors think the same way. He's concluded that choosing work in the theater is akin to having been chosen to participate in The Hunger Games.  Obviously, to me, he's failed to perceive the underlying cooperation--the continual collaboration--always at work in theater, even when we're competing.  He's also failed to notice that success in theater is in no small part a product of longevity in theater.

My blood runs cold when I think of this guy.

Fortunately, the vast majority of actors whom I know have developed an instinct for generosity, even when they may also feel the frustrations of envy and pessimism, which we can't avoid, as we inevitably have our seasons of both success and failure.  I think of the actor who doesn't develop an instinct for generosity as having lamed himself, making himself stick out--in the wrong way--in a fast moving herd of sleek and mesmerizing animals, which performers must be, radiant, sensitive, expressive, and I would say, generous, as non-performers frequently don't have to be.

It's the generosity (or lack of it) between competitors today that will be remembered by collaborators tomorrow.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I have great dislike for people with that mindset. It's hard enough being an actor; we don't need to become obstacles for each other. I believe in being supportive over competitive, always.