Marian Seldes: Remarkably Blessed

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

Interview with Marian Seldes
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City

I understand that people question the theatre---all of the arts--and they see them as lacking or changing in ways that seem to diminish their power. I also know that this will always happen and has always happened. The dream we have harbored is never matched by the reality we ultimately face, and this is not to say that there is lack: It is to say that we have to grow up and beyond the idea we had of something or someone.

All of us have dreamed of a lover, and we have adorned him or her with certain qualities and traits, and how many wonderful people are we going to reject because the fantasy mate isn't in front of us? To wait for an ideal--an ideal based on very immature assumptions--is a kind of death. When a good part or a good person is placed in front of you, you take it, you accept it, you express gratitude for it.

I had an entirely different idea of the the theatre life I might have. I saw myself clearly as doing certain parts at certain times. And none of that came to be. None of it. And yet I have worked every day of my life since I left acting school. I have worked with the great talents of my time. I have been remarkably blessed. But if I were to pull out my diaries of what I expected or wanted or--God help us--what I felt I deserved, it would look as if I had failed miserably.

I have been remarkably blessed.

Keep your mind open. I know others have told you that, but you must. I sign on to things and to people and to days of the week as if I were marrying them: I'm here until the end, and I love them or it until the end. I'm going to believe in my friends and the theatre and the world until my last moment on earth. I have always felt this way, and I have never been disappointed.

Believe far more strongly in things and don't need so much from them.  I think you'll be happier. I have never been disappointed in anything or anyone I have loved.

I want people to succeed. I want places to flourish. We are truly all in this together, and I'm going to make it work. I'm married to the idea of making it all work for everyone.

©  2015   James Grissom


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