Alec Guinness: The Roots of Acting

Via Telephone

Literature--and the theatre, as Tennessee pointed out, is a branch of literature--opened up the world to me, and allowed me to be released from the small, poor section of the world to which I had been consigned. The stories that I read or saw performed on the stage spoke to me, revealed characters so like my mother or my friends or people I had met, and I saw that we are all connected, rooted together.

So a play or a novel was something like a mighty oak or something--tall and solid and representative of the soil that had produced it, the roots that fed it. And we are those roots. I am a root when I sit in a theatre and watch someone speak to me: The emotional reverberations arise from the emotional roots that have been fed, nourished. When I am acting, I suppose I am the tree itself, and all the roots are all those people I have deputized to enhance and color my performance; all the roots are those people who are watching me, waiting for me to share a story; to feed them; to ennoble them.

If we are not connected through something--art or theatre or living or moving about--then it fails to matter; we fail to connect; we fail to live. 

© 2013 James Grissom


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