Too many years ago for me to recall, in the first and most decisive ascriptive to pass before my eyes, this lasting statement remains with me to this day: “Suffering is understood best by those who have suffered.” Then, of course, when repeated you chance a reply, usually from the back of the room, “Oh yea, how the hell do you know?” Obviously, I can’t say I know most things for sure—teaching and directing people as my chosen profession is subjective enough—me becoming a chaplain is not my intent.
I’ve grabbed onto humor as my support during my life’s pursuits of education, and empathy towards those who would disallow simpatico for others to creep into their own personal lifestyle. I fervently avoid the humorless; days without humor shortens human life. I spend as much productive time laughing as possible without forcing those around me to become nutcases. Crying caused by pain will ultimately be forgotten—if a person is lucky enough, it may become a hearty laugh to remember.
This past week I directed men and women who we are attempting to cast on a variety of acting assignments. My job assignment was to provide the necessary ingredients in order for them to present themselves in a way a sponsor would consider as the right choice to sell their product. Whether the actor delivering the lines is called on to be humorous, dramatic, or in a portrayal of a wild and crazy kind of a guy or gal, there must somehow, someway, come forth a modicum of discerned acceptability for what our actor is portending to truthfully be.
Good or bad, my directing skills have been in the process of being honed during the course of my last fifty years of directorial practice (experience).
NOTE: (gratification) My mentors have been and remain the same—substantively the very best in all the world. (This last line delivered by me is delivered with one distinctive, and driving force: MY TRUTH!)
DECREE BY ME TO THEE!
When you come to us to read for a possible work assignment, be thankful for what we are allowed to seek out in this great environment of ours. Love and laughter, and splendiferous thought of what tomorrow will allow.
During World War II, American forces sank a Japanese destroyer. Gabriel Heatter opened his nightly commentary accordingly, “Good evening, everyone—there is good news tonight.” The phrase sparked a small flurry of letters and calls, almost all in his favor. Heatter was already well known for trying to find uplifting but absolutely true stories to feed his commentaries. (He was especially known for a fondness for stories about heroic dogs.) In April 1939, he gave the first national broadcast exposure to the burgeoning self-help group: Alcoholics Anonymous.
Reflecting that reputation, the critic and sometime rival Alexander Woollcott composed the doggerel couplet: “Disaster has no cheerier greeter / than gleeful, gloating Gabriel Heatter.”
And now, by the grace of God, it has become our good fortune to once again rise to the utmost heights of our calling. Let’s all find a way to laugh in preparation for tomorrow’s real-life auditions.
And now I raise my glass in a toast to all of you humorists out there. It’s just about single malt scotch time; well almost. Please remember: “There’s good news tonight!” And there will be even better news tomorrow!