Sunday, September 27, 2009
Davey and Goliath
Lately it seems I've been very fortunate in that the questions people are asking here on the blog are so long that they take up all the space I would normally use to blather on and on myself.
Cuts my work load in half!
I recently purchased a necklace from you, and I love it! I actually wrote about it here.
I hope it sends you a little traffic. :)
Anyway. I have read your blog and wanted to ask you for some advice.
I am an actor, and am in graduate school for acting. I've been cast in a play where the character I'm playing says g**d*** as an adjective. I am not comfortable saying this, and have been replacing it with d***. My director (who is also my professor) has said that he thinks that as an actor, I need to "get over" my aversion to this, as it will limit me in casting. Additionally, he says that in refusing to say it, what I'm really doing is judging the character (which, as an actor, you're not supposed to do) and stepping outside of it, which will prevent me from truly connecting with and embodying the character.
Acting is my vocation, and I feel strongly about being as good of an actor as I can be. I know that this is what God wants me to do, and it's going to be my way of changing the world. But then I think of Saint Genesius, and think that maybe avoiding blasphemy is more important than being a free actor. But I also don't want to limit myself within my art (and my profession). I have no problem playing a sinner (like a murderer or a liar), but usually, playing those roles doesn't make me feel as though I have to sin in order to do it (i.e. an actor playing a murderous character does not actually murder, but an actor playing a character who takes the Lord's name in vain actually has to do it).
Anyway. I guess I'm just confused on the matter, and I wanted advice from someone outside of the theatre (because I'm the only Catholic in my program, and the others think I'm overreacting). Would God want me to stay strong on this point? Or will God forgive me because it's the character who is taking his name in vain, and not me?
Any direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you kindly,
Your director/professor is not just whistling Dixie. He is correct on all points he makes about how your aversion may limit you. He is correct in saying that in order to play the character you have to fully understand the character . The character seems to have no trouble whatsoever taking the Lords' name in vain. It's not really a bad idea that you would try to understand this person. Let's not kid ourselves by pretending that this character is a very unusual person because of this proclivity.
I imagine at this point that my readers fully expect me to stop here and say, "but by playing this person who so easily blurts the name of God you are giving a tacit agreement to this type of venial sin and our agreement to small sins is what leads us to big sins."
So there. I just said that. On top of that, the vicious cycle of 'this is how people talk' makes people talking that way all the more common. Which means you'll have a lot more roles to turn down in the future. Too bad for you that "Davey and Goliath" isn't on TV anymore, since that and Sesame Street will soon be about all that is left for you.
But I'm not going to leave it at that, because I don't know the context of the play, or what the play ultimately says about the character who speaks this way. Perhaps, in the end, the play shows us why we shouldn't speak this way. I doubt it.
What would God think? Sin is about intent. Most plays, in some way or another, are about morality.
I'm sure in the future, if you are a very good actress and people are pursuing you, you are going to have to turn down a lot of roles. What if you get a highly paid juicy lead in a slasher movie and you have to run through the woods in your underpants chased by a chainsaw? What if you get a TV commercial for Viagra?
What if someone asks you to do Shakespeare?
I'm not sure I've been much help. One day you can start your own production company and be free to practice your art and play all the starring roles. Until then, perhaps our readers will weigh in with some sage advice.
Here in Los Angeles, people light sage on fire to 'cleanse' the air.