“I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” -Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist and author
“You’ll never understand me, never. I’m deeper than China. Than a star. If I wanted to, I couldn’t tell you who I am. Or who you are, why you are, why Joey broke in two and you did not. I’m a mystery you dumb son-of-a-bitch. And I can’t explain a mystery because I’m not God and you can’t explain a mystery because you’re not God. And that’s why I’m glad I’m a Catholic, cause it’s a mystery religion!” -Pop to Johnny in the play, Beggars In The House Of Plenty by John Patrick Shanley
The most fascinating acting always has a quality of mystery to us. Garbo, Brando, Olivier, Davis, Guinness—these actors provide us with a dazzling array of answers (they all do the eleven guideposts thoroughly every time they perform), but then they add that quality we cannot explain, that exploration in relationships of what is wondered at but not answered, perhaps cannot be answered. Think of some of the questions man has pondered since the beginning of his time on earth: What is love? Is there a god? Is there life after death? No matter how much science finds out, we never do know the answers to those questions, do we? They eternally remain mysteries to us. So it is with any relationship you create: No matter how much we know about the other person, there is always something going on in that other heart and that other head that we don’t know but can only ponder. And no matter how we explain ourselves to someone else, no matter how open we are, there is always still something inexplicable, something hidden and unknown in us, too.
I am suggesting you add to your audition this wonderment about the other person. I am suggesting you add, too, the wonderment about what is going on inside of you. These are feelings, mysterious feelings, that cannot be verbalized and cannot be explained. But they can be felt and therefore they can be added to your audition. -Michael Shurtleff from his book, Audition
You don’t need to know how the magician performed their trick.
You don’t need to know how to actor weaved their spell.
You don’t need to know how the director pulled off that shot.
You don’t need to know all the secrets of the universe.
It’s okay to not know all there is to know.
Just embrace the mystery. Allow for it. Open yourself up to it.
Cuz the mystery’s where all the fun is.
P.S. – Speaking of magic, this trick. Speaking of shots, this one.
2 thoughts on “Embrace The Mystery”
I studied with Michael Shurtleff for five years. I found that a concentration class along with his class worked for me. However it’s done, if it’s done right, it’s the best feeling in the world.
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Very cool that you studied with him Joe. Thanks for sharing!