Monday, August 17, 2009

Infinite Improvement

Friday, September 5, 2008
12:01:59 AM EDT
Infinite Improvement

Actors are those who give themselves notes
long after the show has closed.

DB - The Vagabond


Q. How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A. 50. One to change the bulb and 49 to say "I could have done that better."

There are some scripts and productions that are hopeless and are just as well forgotten about. They come under the category of "I-wish-I-hadn't-done-that." I could name a few, but they are better left buried.

But then there are plays from the recent and not so recent past that still intrigue me. I'll be lying in bed preparing to go to sleep and a scene or a moment from some play I once did will suddenly pop into my mind and I'll start going over it again, finding ways to do it better. I often wonder why I didn't think of something that is clear to me now. But then I realize that in the stress and rush to get the show rehearsed and open many things fell along the way that can only be picked up later - much later.

It's a shame that I can't go back and do it again, but the scenery has been torn down, the actors have all gone their ways and the show will never happen again. It's in the can, as they say. That doesn't stop me from giving myself notes about it however, as to how to improve it.

It's even more graphically true about sections I've saved to use as audition pieces. When I go through them now I find that I always do them better than I did when I did the play. I have one scene from The Merchant Of Venice which I did in the late 50s. I can't believe I got away with what I did, or didn't do, when I originally performed the play.

Once I went to see a play I had done and watched another actor play the role I had played (an actor who may be reading this right now). I have to admit, he played it better than I did. So let him change the light bulb. He's doing just fine.



  1. D.B

    I may not know what it is like to what you described of your memories. But, I feel that life is like that play or set that has been shut down. We love something dearly and enjoy doing it and then it's on to the next one. It is new set, a new play. It may not be the one's we could act in our sleep, but another beautiful show. We will continue to perfect our lines in life, long after the plays last act. I believe that every day life is our story, our last act. It can be long sometimes and tedious. Then other days it can be magnificent and quick as lightening. I try to keep the stages in my life as bright as the sun above. And those light can cause us to squint and blind us sometimes, but the show must go on! I applaud you for an other honest entry and wish you well. Bravo-Wes Ackerman

  2. I agree with Wes. Our real life is definitely an allegory to the play that you once had been in. ...Our life is a made of drama and we perform it everyday in all facets of the plots, the story line. We play our part whether we do it fine, with error, with embarrassing act ... everything. The light is our Action .. our attitude towards life per se.