True Grit

I heard it from an actor, who learned it from a teacher, who read about it in a newspaper interview.

Stage actress Elizabeth Marvel prepares for a role by reading the script from start to finish. She then spends a full day in rehearsal. Inventing. Probing. Playing. Afterwards, as all actors do, she sits for the directors notes. And at the very end of a long work day she returns home. But unlike most actors, (and this is where things get interesting) Marvel re-reads the play from start to finish. The end.

I love this story.

One, because I think Elizabeth Marvel is one of the world’s best stage actresses. Two, it tethers practice to discovering new things. Three, it separates source material from the lab. (In this case, the script from the rehearsal.) And four, it deems repetition as a creative and bold way to move beyond the middle.

Mind you, this story is hearsay and 100% unsubstantiated. Still the spirit of it, a tale of persistence, grit, and passion.

It’s the sort of story I like to hear. The kind I like to tell.

And when I aim to accomplish a thing or two, and want to move past mediocre (the middle peak) where the air is thin and stamina and inspiration is needed; I’ll step up and perform an ‘Elizabeth Marvel.’

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