Speaking your mind, speaking one’s mind, expressing yourself as an artist or as a human being can be a dangerous thing. Not dangerous in the sense of bodily harm (of
course, that too is a possible alternative!) Dangerous in the sense that you put yourself
out there. On the record. For all to analyze and critique. Criticize. Even ridicule.
There’s a funny, odd dichotomy that exists among a group of actors. At once inclusive and exclusive. A motley band of brothers and a cruel clique of mean girls. Everyone wants their shot, their chance, their big break. In that way we are all the same. But God forbid you get your shot before I get mine. Or even instead of me! That’s when the daggers come out.
I am no different than anyone else. I am certainly not on a soap box here, nor do
I deserve to be. But I am so tired – perhaps of myself – of the endless criticism offered for each and every performance out there. Each and every choice. Each and every creative decision.
The thing of it is: if you have such a great idea, such a better way of doing whatever it is you’re criticizing, then you would have done it already. And if your excuse is that no one ever gave you a shot, gave you a chance – that’s no excuse or explanation. You would have found a way to do it.
I admire the people who put themselves out there. I am endlessly jealous of their courage, their joy, their creative fervor, their belief in themselves. I am challenged day in and day out by their example to lay it all on the line, a take-no-prisoners approach to their own artistry.
So the next time you or I see a performance we don’t like or don’t agree with, let’s just keep it to ourselves. It’s amazing how many truly creative and talented people I have known. At least that’s what they told me. They also told me how horrible some such other person or production was.
Those who can, do; those who can’t, don’t (and endlessly talk about how they would have done it better.)