I have one role I loved above and beyond any other role I ever played. It was a part that I could recognize myself in, a part that scared me for the same reason and a part that was so fun to act, because it truly was a masterpiece of a play and a character that you could take quite far…I mean you could play with it, as she wasn’t very sane. It was Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.
When the Old Vic Theatre in London offered students to come and do workshops there, our school, The Academy Of The Science Of Acting And Directing, went along. I believe it was only the third and fourth years that got to go this one time and what we had to do….well, we had to audition in front of Kevin Spacey.
I wasn’t thinking very strategically about the audition – I simply picked the part I loved the most. I mean, she was, at the time, a character at least six years older than me, if not ten. She also spoke with an accent I was not familiar with. The love of the character basically blurred my vision for whether or not it was a good auditioning piece.
In the week leading up to the audition my boyfriend told that when he came home one night and woke me up, I spoke to him in a Southern accent and I was saying something Blanche would have said (the only thing I remembered the next day was the thought “Do not get angry with him for waking you up and trying to hug you, just to say goodnight.” Apparently he wasn’t very successful in waking me up, as I was basically sleep talking.). For once in my life I was really into my acting (directing is my main passion), so into it I dreamt about it.
On “D-Day” we went to the Old Vic and we sat in the theatre watching people from different schools auditioning. Kevin was smoking cigarettes whilst watching everyone and giving feedback. Although fellow students later told me it was the best acting they had ever seen me do, Kevin told me my accent reeked, I couldn’t do a “mad Blanche” because that was too usual of an interpretation (if you ask me, it’s the only valid interpretation) and clearly I was younger than the character. It taught me a thing or two about choosing auditioning pieces.
What also stuck with me from this day was Kevin’s speech about being an Actor. The idea that you never know who will “make it” next, so you better be nice to everyone and you better work your ass off. Most Actors, he said, like going to the pub instead of work. He didn’t recommend that. In my school we we were in class from 8:30-5:30 every day, we had rehearsals until 11:50 and we were usually in school most weekends too, so I was happy to hear that. I was happy because I heard the tale of a hugely successful Actor telling us his long, hard journey, in an inspiring, no bullshit way. Clearly, he also loved his profession and he was willing to help young Actors by welcoming them into his theatre, lending his time. For that I give him cred.
Recently a video has become hugely popular amongst my FB friends. It’s a video where Kevin, once again, speaks the truth in a very straightforward and honest way. I love it. I love it because it is so true. There is no “tomorrow.” There is no fame and fortune awaiting around the corner. There is only this moment and doing what you love right now. Plan for the future, but live you passion now. Right here, right now.
So may I ask you: What are you doing with this incredible week/gift of time that is awaiting you? What are you filling your hours, minutes and seconds with?