Thursday, February 05, 2009
Nagl then went on to tell an anecdote with an Afghani man who worked as a road-builder. The man had been shot in a Taliban ambush, but the next day he appeared at work still wearing the same bloody shirt that he had been wearing when he was shot, because he knew how urgent it was that roads continue to be built in his country.
As actors and creative people, we are road-builders for our world. Barack Obama writes about the paramount importance of empathy in his book, and empathy is what we traffic in as actors. We strive to embody the experience of others, not only credibly, not only compellingly, but in a way that makes the experiences of others immediately, palpably, transparently present. It is this capacity to imaginatively project ourselves into the skins of other people that is our greatest hope.
It is likely that many of us will be ambushed and end up with blood on our shirts, figuratively speaking, as the economy continues to unravel in the coming months. It will be at that time, more than over, that our communities can benefit from our efforts to keep hope alive, through the imaginative, affective roads that we build in our work. As Winston Churchill quipped: "If you're going through hell, keep going." In a time when the real world, everywhere you look, is grim, our ability to open the way to imaginary worlds may just be the thing that keeps us on our feet.
(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco (www.utteracting.com): an acting class in Los Angeles and San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)
Posted by Andrew Wood Acting Studio at 12:28 AM