Problems of the Actor

Cover of book Problems of the Actor
Categories: Fiction » Literature

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER I " I KNO


W I HAVE IT IN ME!" Art Must Be an Absolute Mistress?Selling Our Lives for a Price?Charlotte Cushman's Creed?Why Do I Want to Be an Actor??Indispensable Qualifications: Enthusiasm, "Humanity," Imagination, Voice, Personal Appearance. THERE can be little doubt that a man's ultimate position in the dramatic profession depends very largely upon the motives he has when he enters it. I feel that I have seen the truth of this demonstrated over and over again. I believe I may state as a fact, and not as the exhortation of an idealist, that unless a man is drawn to the art of acting for its own sake, unless he is prepared to make great sacrifices for the sake of his art, he can never attain genuine success on the stage. If he vaguely proposes to use the stage as a means of self-glorification, as a means of selfish advancement, it isa simple truth that he will be incapable of bringing into play those peculiar qualities of sincere application and patient study which are essential for any noteworthy progress. Speaking from the most practical point of view, it does not pay to spend one's life in an art, if we are not prepared to acknowledge the supremacy of the art, to realize that art is to be our master. Art: let it be understood at the outset that I shall try to use this much-abused word in its true sense; or rather, since it has been manhandled so promiscuously, perhaps I should say that I shall try to be consistent in my use of it. All acting is not art, just as all painting is not art, nor all writing; but when acting takes on the imaginative, creative qualities (as all great acting must do) it is art. Until the actor does endow his work with these precious attributes, no matter how skilful he may be, he is a craftsman, not an artist. So we shall speak now of the...

Problems of the Actor
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