Time for the blog hop post of the week! The theme is Remember the Time… we had that teacher.
I’m so excited for this prompt because I LOVE teachers and I come from a family of them, The Mother, The Sister, and The Glue are all inspiring the minds of young people as I type this. Growing up, I had many quality teachers but not surprisingly I can’t remember most of their names or even what they looked like. My memory is that bad.
I DO remember that my kindergarten teacher was named Mrs. Rock. Bizarre yet totally appropriate right? And the other kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Peach. 100% truth.
The best and perhaps most unforgettable teacher I ever had was one of my acting professors at college. I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I received a BFA in acting. The way our program was organized we had many of the same teachers year after year.
I had this one professor all four years and I swear almost everything that came out of his mouth was intensely true and uniquely smart. Sometimes it was scary, intimidating, or hilarious too, but he was always committed to helping us become confident artists and kind human beings. He encouraged us to break through all of our shit and find the truth in everything. His life lessons had an impact on me as an actor, as a woman, and as a person.
Luckily, I took diligent notes because I’m a type A-control-freak-oldest-child, and now I have the world’s best quips on how to exist. This isn’t just for me, this is for all of us.
It’s OK If Things Get Messy
“Some of you act like porcelain dolls. ‘I’m a porcelain doll, don’t give me any more notes or I might break.'”
“If someone tells me they’re fine five times then I know they’re not. Especially if they sound really convincing, then I know for sure that they’re not fine.”
“It will never be perfect. But sometimes it will be so balanced that they will think your performance is perfect.”
“It’s so useful to be in an awful day job. Nothing’s a waste.”
In life you need a thick skin. In the theatrical world, you need skin as dense as cement. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and surround yourself with people who are going to be honest with you.
“You’re always allowed to ask for things. As long as you’re prepared to hear ‘no,’ you can ask a thousand times.”
“Be the cheerleader on the stretcher still cheering.”
“Here’s the how the world is gonna encourage you to be an artist- they will not cast you in the first 30 shows you audition for.”
In acting class had to perform scenes many times and change them constantly, not to make them perfect but so we could learn to keep working on something even when it got hard, even when it got better, and even when it stopped working altogether.
The Importance of Art
“I am an asshole about art because I care. Art is my spirituality. I would go to war for art.”
“To be generous onstage, you have to be generous offstage.
“All that stuff you’re trying not to show us, is the stuff we’re interested in.”
In my head, art encompasses so many things that I have trouble explaining it. It’s not just literal aesthetics but the creativity and expression of human nature. It’s finding balance and beauty in everything, it’s prioritizing spontaneity over structure and putting relationships in front of money and success. Art is everywhere.
Life Lessons Without the Sugar Coating
“Some of you want an easy life. You should leave right now.”
“When lovely girls act lovely onstage they look demented.” (one of my faves and so true!)
“It’s late. Even late with an excuse is late. Even late with a misunderstanding is late.”
“If you use the love-making metaphor for acting: after you’re done, you want to be spent. You don’t want to be able to do the dishes.”
“Want the impossible. That is what people want.”
I still don’t know where or how my journey will look as an actor in the next ten years or even the next three months, but I know my actor training was one of the best things I’ve ever done it in my life. I’m eternally grateful for every lesson. Thank you Professor.
Do you have a teacher that inspired you both academically and personally?