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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Acting from Experience
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0477  Wednesday, 17 March 1999.

From:           Matthew Gretzinger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 09:30:14 -0500
Subject: 10.0462 Writing from Experience
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0462 Writing from Experience

Please forgive me if this is well off the beaten track, but it occurs to
me that this debate on 'Writing from Experience' is reflected well in a
similar debate, long waged, on the craft of acting.

While waiting for an interview for a graduate program at a well-esteemed
theater school, I overheard a teacher in a class loudly exclaim: "IF YOU
DON'T KNOW IT, YOU CAN'T PLAY IT."  To which my mind responded,
"Bollocks."  It's because you don't know it that you must play it, that
you're driven to play it, isn't it?

I find I seek out works that have in them things I long to understand,
or to explore, or to experience.  "Fathers don't die each time we play
Hamlet," as someone in a Richard Nelson play once said.  Of course, I
don't know much about it, but it seems to me that writers must use a
good deal more of what they observe than what they feel - though both
are required in the long run - and I've long suspected the same is true
of the actor.  Based on no evidence, it's in this way that I've pictured
Shakespeare - a great observer (who surely must have felt such things as
I never may).  I continually wonder what others think.

Just my two (tarnished, dull) cents.

-Matthew Gretzinger
 

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