I have to say this to the current cast of the production we are doing, no, performing within the coming months. I know that it’s not yet that last week where everything falls into place, but this letter is the Hope that the last week is not the only time for things to come together.
YOU have been selected, one of many who tried out.
One of many who memorized lines and songs to try out for one part.
Congratulations, because knowing who your director probably is, that’s certainly no easy feat.
YOU are One.
But one of many, you have been chosen (that’s right, chosen. Have your five seconds of fame now, and save the rest for later), to be part of our cast in our next Musical Production.
But with each person running around in their own little worlds, it’s no wonder that it will come down to the very last week to get everything set for the performance. We are a team, and I could go on about the usual team practices, everything that’s trite and true, but I don’t want to be another cliche. That’s why I want to share this story with you now.
There was once a Clockmaker in Europe in the mid-1700s. One day a boy asked him to take him on as an apprentice, and he reluctantly obliged, but only before warning the boy that making Clocks is a method of exact precision, and that one false slip of a file would mean starting over from scratch. The Clockmaker had the boy read manuals, pamphlets, books, over and over again until the boy had enough. He demanded that the Clockmaker let him make his first clock, something simple yet, elegant. A Gold pocketwatch.
The Clockmaker looked at the boy hard, and then obliged, stating that “Now is as good of a time, if any, to apply what you’ve been reading”. The boy worked and slaved over his gold pocketwatch, the hours turned into days and days into months, until finally it was completed. The boy marveled at his work, except it had one major flaw, it would not tick. In a fit of outrage the boy slammed it in front of his mentor and declared “I cannot do anything right, because you never taught me how to do it proper”.
The Clockmaker looked up to the boys face, and took the pocketwatch in his hand. He opened the hatch to the motor, adjusted three cogs, put it back into place and wound it. The pocketwatch immediately started ticking.
The boy, taken aback asked him how he did it. The Clockmaker smiled a wry grin and stated “There are always about three cogs loose in every clock. One for impatience, One for apathy, and One for selfish desire. The same three qualities that you exhibited throughout all of your time here so far.”
The boy asked “Then how do you always make such magnificent works of art with your clocks?” The man smiled wider and explained it to the youth. “I need at least three things when I want to make a clock. I need a vision, I need motivation and energy, and I need heart. Without those three things, it would not be art, it would merely be, a clock.”
The boy went home and thought about what the Clockmaker had said, vision, motivation and energy, and heart. From that day onwards, the boy, now a successful Clockmaker himself, has put those three things not just into every clock he makes, but everything he does as well.
For you theater geeks here, I imagine that some of you can already grasp the message. But I still remind my players, no, my Actors of this everytime I get a chance.
You leave your troubles in a basket at the door, or something that symbolizes a trouble. Whether it’s your flash drive, a new parking ticket, or whatever else is bothering you, you leave it outside the auditorium.
When you come in for practice, you leave yourself in that basket, and you don’t just play the character, you BECOME your character.
If your character is a raging homosexual, I expect you to act like one, at least during all practice and play hours. If your character is a buff and manly tough biker girl, then I expect you to stick your chest out, pound your fists together, and spit if you have to.
There is always a line that comes to those who act, whether or not they take in the character and embrace everything about them, or whether they merely shuffle along and “play the part” they got.
We don’t go on stage because we want the attention, that’s for the drama babies and the gossip girls. We don’t go on stage for the money, because we don’t get any anyways. We don’t do it for others, because we know how to live for ourselves.
We go on the stage because we realize that we are able to express something meaningful, whether its about love, love lost, or love found again.
We are actors, and for everything to work, and for us to work as a cast, those three cogs, and All cogs must be perfectly aligned with each other. We fall, or we fly, but regardless of which happens, we’ll do it together.