What We Believe
To Be an Actor in Times Like These
by Eugene Buica
Artistic Director The Acting Corps
The chickens HAVE come home to roost – we have finally done it, our madness, the madness affecting the inmate population of the asylum we call our planet Earth, our COLLECTIVE madness, has brought us to the point of no return. And we feel it, we know it deep in our hearts – things will never be the same again, how can they? The party’s over and there”s nowhere to run. No more running to the mall for salvation, no more using our houses as ATM’s, or our credit cards as our personal money printing presses; we have been cut off and we must stop and face the music if only because now we can”t afford to leave the room.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about people being out of work, people being full of fear, people not knowing what to do next. ”I hope this will be over soon,” we say. Having had our purchased escapism taken away from us, all we can hope for is a return to our drug of choice. Because without the escape of trivial consumption, who are we? We don’t really know and we definitely don’t want to find out.
But to be fair this is not true of everyone. Some of us actually smell opportunity and relish the challenge ahead. Some of us understand that abundance is followed by apathy, which is followed by dependence and bondage, which are followed by great spiritual faith and courage. And we welcome these difficult times, how could we not?
As artists we have a long history of greeting adversity with a knowing smile. Maybe because our role has always been to look around the corner, see what’s coming, and then lead by creative example especially when our voices and our visions have been unpopular but necessary.
So rather than embracing the gloom and doom scenarios presented by the media, the constant reminders that the world is ending, as artists we need to see the current climate as a return to what matters. ART, not the Federal Reserve, is our source of inexhaustible strength and joy – I fully believe we will be OK because we know this simple fact. Berthold Brecht put it best the last time things were falling apart. He wrote, “In dark times will there also be singing? Yes, singing about the dark times.” While I do not support Mr. Brecht’s political agenda, I certainly identify with his pragmatism.
So yes, we will survive because we have resources which no stock market, no failing economy, no financial meltdown can ever touch. Our esteemed civilization has sold us a way of life which is no more than glorified addiction to empty pursuits; this way of life has now been proven unsustainable, because all addictions are eventually unsustainable. As artists, we have also contributed to the problem while always carrying the solution deep within. It is now time to live in that solution and CREATE when faced with our madness or other people’s. So if you’re a writer, write! If you’re an actor, act! And if you’re afraid you’re neither, stay, we need you to teach us about the courage of becoming.