Harold Pinter was considered to be one of the most influential of modern British dramatists with a career spanning more than 50 years as a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. He wrote plays that emphasized that unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. Coming to understand what this means for me personally has been a long journey.
Theater and Comedy
Whenever I watch a performance of Mahler’s second symphony, The Resurrection, I am spellbound by the intense emotional connection to the arc of my own life. John Williams Jaws is inseparable from Steven Spielberg’s story – so much so that the first couple of notes is all that is needed for me to see again that shark attack. What makes music so powerful and how can I learn how to use that power in my own creative life?
Stephen Colbert once observed that “Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” But what is the focus of the things I make up? Is it mostly about me – my ideas, my money and my goals? Or is it mostly about us – a better and more satisfying life together than any of us could create by ourselves? Trying to become a better Improv actor has helped me to discover the importance of this choice in my real life.
I recently got around to watching the 2009 movie “The Blind side”, staring Sandra Bullock in an Oscar winning role as a born-again Christian mother who adopts and cares for a Black athlete from a poor part of Memphis. Bullock was one of the students of Sanford Meisner and she said that her success as an actor stemmed very much from Meisner’s emphasis that “the foundation of acting is the reality of doing.” For me it is increasingly clear that working to become a better actor means working on the skills that will also enable me to live my life more fully.
If we are to accept the Quantum Mechanics notion of multiple parallel universes, then every possible lifetime that I might create with my choices must be happening in one of those universes. Does that mean I can do “whatever I want” and have no responsibility for the consequences of my choices? This post explores the insights into this question offered by a few movies and theater plays.
It is an intriguing idea that every choice we make creates a branch into a parallel universe, yet this is not the reality that any of us experience in our real lives. We must make a choice and then we experience only the consequences that flow from that choice. So what distinguishes a good choice from a poor one?
We all experience our world as a continuum of choices where each choice forever precludes the alternate paths. It’s obvious, right? But what if this “obviousness” is misleading? What if there could be parallel universes which could accommodate every possible alternative? Quantum Mechanics offers some insight into this possibility.
Interviewing guests for a podcast or a video broadcast doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult – until you try it. The very best hosts are the ones who really listen to their guests and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. This is an ability that can change our whole life.
In the beginning, it seems like enough to just remember your cues and lines. When you try to bring authenticity to your character, however, you may discover some truths about yourself.