Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. I’ve been celebrating the entire month of October.
Alright so I’m an actress, right? Never really thought of myself as an “artist” until I came to Wayne State. Not until all my professors were describing acting as this art form. I had only ever thought of acting as a job, never as a real art or craft. But really, it is. Gosh it really is. It’s got to be one of the most complex and subjective types of art out there. It’s an art that relies solely on a gut feeling of being a human who is pretending. That feeling of believing in the pretend. It’s such a strong and mysterious thing when you really think about it. What makes something believable? Why is Meryl Streep such a good actress? What makes her better than other people in her field? I’m still learning, but I’ll try and fill you guys in when I get that complete answer. Who knows? I might never find out. I’m okay with that. Acting seems to be the kind of thing you’re constantly learning about because you’re always growing as a person and people are always changing around you, too.
Anyway, in my Theatre History class, we learn about all sorts of things pertaining to theatre – the origin of lighting and scenic techniques and, best of all, the origin of actors and acting, which, of course, is what I find to be most interesting.
So my professor describes in this lecture that there was this sort of hierarchical chart of society way back in the day in some country I can’t remember. Y’know, at the top were noble people like kings and queens, then it goes to traders and merchants in the middle, then, at the very bottom, are prostitutes and slaves. Directly above the prostitutes and slaves, however, were actors. Literally considered to be right at the bottom of society. Fascinating, right?
I’m assuming that this kind of goes for any kind of artist, not just actors, but there wasn’t a lot of detail on the chart as we were only looking at theatre history.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting how there’s still this fun little thing that artists get to hear from all sorts of folks – especially relatives. We’re not exactly viewed as the scum of the earth, but we’re not treated like how doctors are in this country, either. Respected, I guess?
I found this amazing quote that my friend shared with me regarding music majors. This was from a professor speaking to his students:
“If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2AM, someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8PM, someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, and a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.”
In today’s society, and especially with my generation, we’re beginning to focus a bit more on mental and emotional health. The arts have proven again and again that they heal in ways that medicine cannot. It’s a beautiful thing we do as artists and it’s not always an appreciated aspect of society. But that’s okay. We will keep going anyway.