While preparing for the fall 2012 school year, I ran across my copy of David Mamet's book True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor. He takes on some of the "sacred cows" of actor training and performance. One of the toughest myths to "slaughter" is this notion that actors must "have something to fall back on." The young actor is constantly told that he/she will never make a living in this business. Loving and concerned adults often speak such thoughts hoping to save their young charges from the pain of disappointment.
Mamet, writer of some of our nation's best theatre, calls us to courage. He writes:
“Those with ‘something to fall back on’ invariably fall back on it. They intended to all along. That is why they provided themselves with it. But those with no alternative see the world differently… The cops say, ‘I’m on the corner.’ Young folks in the theatre might have it, ‘Molly can go home and John can go home, I am never going home.’ Bravo. And good luck. Thos of you with nothing to fall back on, you will find, are home.”
Pursue your passion with discipline. Pay attention to the business side of "show business." Train persistently. Then, like that cop on the corner, you'll be one of the last actors in the audition room while your peers have all drifted into other jobs.
Hope to see you in the theatre.
Dr. R Cliff Thompson