“The phone call is often the best part of it. Your agent says, ‘They want you to play Hamlet at the Old Vic.’ And you go, ‘Holy shit! Hamlet at the Old Vic! Wow! God! Fantastic!’ Then you hang up and it’s ‘Fuck, I’m playing Hamlet.'”- Gary Oldman
I had an impulse to blog about this quote immediately because it speaks so truly to how I (and maybe others) feel about acting sometimes.
I’m an actor and I love this craft- this job- more than anything and wish to remain one my whole life, always growing and building new strengths. But it’s not easy and therein lies the fear. In order to experience that continuous growth you must always be challenging yourself in whatever role you play, with whomever you work with, and where ever you go. In short, you must always be facing your fears and insecurities.
Right now I am a senior in my BFA Acting program and have a lot going for myself. One of my projects is performing in a play called Leveling Up where I am but one in an ensemble of four, which means this ain’t no one-line part. I’m in it to win it from the start and if rehearsals are any indication of the outcome then it’s going to be a really great show, but the other night I felt that lingering uncertainty… that sentiment of “fuck. I’m playing Hamlet.”
So what do I do?
Well like I stated before, I must face this doubt head on with everything I’ve got. This is where all of my skills and knowledge as a trained professional come into play. They are my weapons. Fortunately, my confidence and passion always win out because I know that if I do my homework properly then I have nothing to worry about. I can trust what is now inherently inside me (not to mention the incredible cast and director I’m working with).
We all want to play the great roles like Hamlet and I have many dream roles on my list that I would kill for the chance to play, but once you’ve snagged the part, you have to deliver. What did Uncle Ben say? “With great power comes great responsibility” and that is a mantra to embrace not to run from. Never shy away from anything because of your doubts. They’re there and you have to accept that, but never feed them and always fight against them. Say yes to every challenge because it will always be worth it, no matter the struggles along the way.
You can be your own worst enemy in many situations, but you can also be your greatest ally. Thank you Gary Oldman for showing me that even accomplished and famous actors can feel the way I do as I begin my own journey.
Another quote I love from Mr. Oldman:
“The lights go down. What do you got?”