The Actor's Instrument
All artists have instruments. Muscians their pianos and flugelhorns, Painters their canvases, brushes and paints. We actors are no different, save that our instruments are us. Our Minds, bodies and voices are our instruments, and we have a responsbility to keep those instruments in good working order.
Just like a violinist replaces worn strings and rosins their bow, and a painter washes and cares for their brushes, so too must actors expand and understand our knowledge of our work and text, remain healthy, active and capable of moving and expressing with our bodies, and keep our voices practiced, healthy and expressive.
My State of Neglict and the Hypocrisy of it all
There is a parable that is attributed to Gandhi, but is more likely a retelling of an old story. Regardless, it is fit to purpose for this discussion.
A woman walks with her son many miles and days to come to Gandhi. She is very worried about her son's health because he is eating too much sugar. She comes to Gandhi and says, "please, sir, can you tell my son to stop eating sugar."
Gandhi looks at her and thinks for a bit and finally says, "ok, but not today. Bring him back in two weeks."
She's disappointed and takes her son home. Two weeks later she makes the journey again and goes to Gandhi with her son.
Gandhi says to the boy, "you must stop eating sugar. It's very bad for you."
The boy has such respect for Gandhi that he stops and lives a healthy life.
The woman is confused and asks him, "Gandhi, please tell me: why did you want me to wait two weeks to bring back my son."
Gandhi said, "Because two weeks ago, I was eating sugar and before I could tell your son to stop eating sugar, I had to stop eating sugar first."
I am not at my best, and yet I think it's ok to hold my self up as a teacher and coach, as an example, for others to learn from. I am not setting the example that I would want others to follow, and I need to fix that.
For the next twelve weeks I am focusing on a physical and mental transformation to tune my instrument and to make me a better teacher, coach, father and person.
This is one of my reasons.