“I’m probably more personal when I’m acting than at any other time. More open, more direct. Because it allows me to be something that I can’t always feel comfortable with when I’m living my own life, you know? Because it’s make-believe.” -Phillip Seymour Hoffman
I’m not exactly sure why this is, but the more personal you make your art, the more universal it becomes.
Perhaps it’s because the audience can feel the investment of self, the authenticity of the work and the risk that was taken. The more the artist risks, the more the audience (and they do so subconsciously) opens their hearts, minds and souls to the art. That goes for the writer as well as the actor.
A friend relayed this story to me about the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman…
One night after a performance Mr. Hoffman was asked by some students his “secret” to acting. His response:
“Personalize! Personalize! Personalize!” And then (I’m paraphrasing this next part)…”You have to find a way to take everything personally.”
In every beat, every possible moment, make it personal. Take it personally! Act as if it’s happening to YOU now. It is. Risk! Let us in. We so badly want to go with you on the ride.
P.S. – I was inspired to write this post after a beautiful, magical Vs. Tuesday Night Reading of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned To Drive.” Everyone from playwright to sponsor to director to cast made it personal. Bravo, Bravissimo! to all involved.