How many of you know that person who likes to give you a million reasons why they can’t do something? For example, when I was acting, there was always the actor who had to give the director or choreographer sixty reasons why they couldn’t cross behind the scrim and make their entrance on time, or stand up when they said a certain line, or get that pirouette in before they had to sing a verse. And, I’ll admit, on a few occasions I was that actor. Of course, sometimes you really are just working with a crazy director who is asking you to do something dangerous or ridiculous for no good reason. But, more often than not, it can be attributed to a situation that pushes us out of our comfort zone, or triggers fear or doubt in us. And it’s amazing how quickly and conveniently we can come up with twenty reasons why it won’t work or we shouldn’t do it or we should walk away.
When I studied with the Moscow Art Theatre, I had a wonderful movement teacher, named Andrei Droznin. Whenever someone started to resist something or try and get out of an exercise, he would say, “Just do it! Do it!” with his thick Russian accent, over and over again, until they at least tried to do what he was asking of us. One of these exercises was to run and jump over a table in a single bound. Seriously. What does that have to do with acting? Well, acting is about being fearless. And succeeding at anything requires a certain degree of fearlessness. So, the first time I tried to get over that table, I got really close, but rather than make it all the way over, the tops of my legs skimmed the table at the very last moment. I ended up with thighs covered in bruises. Now, I could have given up and refused to try again. But, I didn’t. With Andrei’s words in my mind, I ran, leapt, and sailed safely to the other side…and for a moment, odd as it sounds, I felt like anything was possible. It made me realize that a little fearlessness, goes a long way.
Speaking of fearlessness, my fearless Brooklyn Children’s Theatre students and I had four hours to tech, space, light, and do a full dress rehearsal yesterday, in a space none of us had ever worked in before…with no air conditioning. Talk about inspiring! As I watched these young adults carry themselves like professionals, bring a story to life beautifully, and heed my request to, “just make it work,” they reminded me how much we are capable of if we stop resisting, stop complaining, and just do it.
If you'd like to be inspired by these kids, check out Alice in Wonderland Jr. at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse. All the information can be found here.