Tennessee: The Progression Of Our Talents

I'm afraid that we worry too much about the progression of our careers and our bank accounts, and not so much about the progression of our talents or of the theatre at large.

I have been poor--terribly poor--and I know how strong the urge is to make some money and to have some things: to have some freedom. However, the greatest rewards remain those on the page and on the stage--when you know you've taken on greater risks than you thought possible, and you have triumphed. It is even greater when you ask others to take on this risk with you, and they rise to the same heights, or greater ones.

Marlon [Brando] exceeded my reach in Streetcar; [Elia] Kazan exceeded me on every play of mine he directed, particularly Sweet Bird of Youth, on which I became distracted. Those are great rewards, even as they embarrass you, even as they showcase your faults.

I would suggest that you go and support all bold things. There are really only a handful of plots or situations in the world, and we only expand upon them when we risk something. One's art--not to mention one's heart--shrivels if you have too rigid an expectation for everything you see or read or hear. You do not know everything; you have not seen everything. Surprise yourself. Let others surprise you.

Get out more.

See everything.

Love it. Argue about it. Take the shards from what you saw and apply it to what you're working on.

Pass it on. Meet the deadline. Go to the pale judgment.

There is no mystery to how these things begin or how they are implemented. The mystery is when it all works.


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