• John Vessels

Your last day . . .

Actors: only do work you can be proud of. Read that very carefully. It's not only do work(s) you are proud of. It's not only produce work you're proud of. Only do work you can be proud of. This is an invitation to make your very best effort regardless of the size of the role, regardless of your feelings about the show, regardless of the lameness of the class, regardless of the awful nature of the director, teacher, cast mate, ad infinitum, ad nauseum . . .

There are a thousand justifications for phoning in a performance, marking through a rehearsal, or blowing off a class. They're all wrong. If you are choosing to do the work of an actor, choose to do the work. You benefit every time you fully commit to the work in front of you. So this one won't lead to a Tony. Do the work. So this one may not even go on your resume. Do the work.

The art form is bigger than the piece; bigger than the moment in which you find yourself. So on behalf of the art form--and on behalf of your relationship with the art form--do work you can be proud of.

The primary meat of my career has been a variation on 3rd Tree from the Left. I have played incidental people, one-line-wonders, walk ons, walk bys, and keep-walkin's. I have learned those humans I am playing are humans I am playing. With little lives and little stories. If we commit to telling those stories with the same richness we approach Hamlet and Lear, the overall piece benefits. And WE benefit by knowing we contributed our best and most.

If today's performance, today's rehearsal, today's class were your last; would you leave it all behind happy with the work you did? Do work you can be proud of.

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