Your Practice

“It is when your practice is rather greedy that you become discouraged with it.  So you should be grateful that you have a sign or warning signal to show you the weak point in your practice.”  Shunryu Suzuki


In a rehearsal you come across many stumbling blocks.  They point to deficiencies in your interpretation and abilities.  Most likely they will discourage you.  They make you incapable of seeing anything except your own faults.  They defeat you.


Why is this so?  None of us are perfect.  We are working with an imperfect medium, our bodies, voices, and minds.  There will always be something less than perfect about our interpretation.  This is a fact of life.  It is a given.  Why should it dishearten you?


I wrote the preceding paragraph in jest.  I do not believe that we are imperfect or full of deficiencies.  We are all wonderful exactly where we are.  I do not believe, however, that we should not try to change.  We change by using the knowledge of our “deficiencies” to improve.


Say, for example, we cannot handle the verse in a play by Shakespeare.  We should study how to scan the text.  We should work on our vocal dexterity so that we can say the words “trippingly on the tongue.”  It is important we learn everything we possibly can about how to handle the verse.  We have an obligation, not only to ourselves but to our audience.


In our own lives, look at today as the beginning.  The commercial says, “Where do you want to go today?” Where do you want to go today?  Take that first step.  Know that you have a long way to go, but you must start and not get discouraged when change happens slowly or not at all.  We all hit plateaus in the quest for success or enlightenment.  That is a natural part of the process.  Believe in yourself, follow your heart, and view life’s detours as opportunities.


In the theatre, every role has it’s difficulties.  But we should look at every difficulty as a unique challenge.  And isn’t a challenge what acting is all about?


About oxrider

Mr. Winter has written novels, books of poetry and short stories, and books on acting. He has written over three dozen plays, winning the S.C. Playwright’s Festival. His inventive theatrical work has been seen in the US and Europe. A.F. Winter has been acting, teaching, and directing, for over 30 years. He created a theatre which worked with at-risk youth giving them positive alternatives in their lives. Please visit his website at View all posts by oxrider

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