Published in Hanford Sentinel Newspaper October 23, 2020
My niece has been an actress most of her life. Her mother, my sister, thinks she may have been influenced by me. I didn’t act as a child, but I did roles as an adult in Phoenix, Yuma, Portland, Bend, Chicago, NYC and locally. I acted primarily to enhance my playwriting. Knowing how an actor thinks and uses the stage is good for the play writing process. As we were talking, she mentioned the acting classes she had taken in the L.A. area. I asked her what the most important thing she took out of the acting classes. She said trust. That trust was important to actors. I readily agreed that trust is essential in collaborate work. In Backstage magazine the article “Acting is All About Trusting Your Scene Partner + Being Real” actor John C. Reilly ("Talladega Nights," "Step Brothers") discusses his actor training and how trusting your colleagues is essential. He also praises his camaraderie-laden actor education in Chicago. Chicago is a wonderful training ground for actors. I am witness to the atmosphere of Chicago’s acting community as a supportive, trusting and awesome environment of actors uplifting one another. When an actor is on stage, he or she must trust his fellow actors. Additionally, the director trusts that the actors will remember blocking (where to move on stage) and actor notes. From a playwright perspective, I give my script to a director and actors trusting that they will interpret the work as written and make the words flourish for the audience. Most seasoned theater people know the value of trust in the theater. That’s the reason for trust-type games and exercises during acting classes and pre-rehearsals. A breakdown of trust during a play production will be a bad experience for everyone. If there is an offender in the cast, the best action is to remove that actor for the good of the process. It isn’t democratic, but it is necessary. Lack of trust has the potential to divide the cast and affect the cast performance. It is best for all involved to have trustworthy and generous actors on stage. It translates to the audience this energy of trust.
I have often marveled at tightknit ensembles at successful theater companies, and how well they work together. I am convinced that the ensemble is a group of actors who trust and love each other. With trust and love they create beautiful theater.
My niece understands the important element of trust in the arts. I, as an artistic director and playwright, find trust crucial.