My daughter is the reason I’m still here

as it brightens, it exposes a normal dorm room setup. Julian bangs on the door behind the scenes. His scene partner discovers him upon opening it in a stance that appeared hilarious, intriguing, and endearing on the other actors. But Julian is all tension and sketched possibilities. As he uncomfortably approaches the stage, Julian makes a show of slurring his words since, after all, only intoxicated people fall down and mumble. He goes above and beyond to show me that he finished his assignment. He’s genuinely trying to seem angry by clenching his fists. He might as well be giving a silent performance. Despite periodically looking in her direction, he hasn’t listened to or honestly responded to anything his scene partner has said. He is delivering meticulously rehearsed, manufactured line readings with exacting intensity, but little consideration for or connection to the circumstance. And a tiny piece of me passes away.
Julian is not your ordinary self-centered actor. Julian is not a ham. Julian is affable, loyal, and sincere. He consistently participates completely in class and pays attention with both his intellect and his heart. He goes above and beyond to be helpful and kind. He is just as willing to help move a difficult set piece or resolve a sound issue as he is to encourage a fellow student. However, Julian isn’t doing well on stage right now, and my heart hurts for him. He is horrified when I offer him sincere criticism in the most empathetic way I can. He invested so much time and effort into preparing and has such a strong drive to succeed that he finds it difficult to understand why he is failing. There is no inherent right to act. The words exact, knowledgeable, emotionally resonant, transcendent, moving, and evocative are just a few examples of the many descriptive adjectives that can be used to characterize acting. But sometimes you can’t get it correctly. Acting is excellent because of this magnificent alchemical fusion of the technical and the organic.

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