John Gielgud: Searching For Stories

Photograph by Carl Van Vechten

By Telephone
You relate to the audience through your character--and only through your character. It is bad form to search for the audience. I say that even as I realize that many a beloved actor has built a career on looking out among the faces in the audience; cuddling with the people out front. I was taught--and I believe--that this is dishonest and constitutes bad acting.
You will find your audience--you will bond with your audience--when the great thing is discovered, which is your character, which is the truth of the play in which you are performing. It is what you are both searching for: Go on the journey together. It is extraordinary when you, the actor on a journey, and the audience, on its collective journey, find the character, recognize him, embrace him, understand him. That is why we do this. That is why the theatre will always live. That is why we need stories, and that is why we must keep telling them together.
We need stories to live. We need to tell stories to survive. I'm looking for the story, and so is the audience, and if I have ever connected with anyone in the theatre, it is because we searched for the same story and we found it--together. 
© 2013 James Grissom 


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