What is this sorcery? Sometimes a good artist can also be a mean person.
By Laure Porché (Performer/Translator)
When I was 19 years old, I learned the hard way that being a good artist did not automatically imply being a good person. As a first year music student, I became an assistant for one of my teachers, wonderful singer/performer and very dysfunctional human being. I escaped the very dysfunctional relationship that ensued after nine months, jolted awake by a family emergency.
Nearly ten years later, after very little contact, this person wrote me the meanest, low hitting things anyone has ever hurt me with, mean to the point where I refrained from reading that letter more than once, so afraid was I that I would never be able to forget it otherwise.
Even though I have accepted intellectually that “good artist” did not necessarily equal “awesome person”, I’m still baffled by the phenomenon. How can one create so much beauty on stage, and so much ugliness outside of it?
I’m not naïve, nor do I want everyone to be “nice”. I realize that we all have our own demons and insecurities. But shouldn’t we, as artists, at least strive to be the best we can be? For me, being a lousy person kind of misses the point of making art. And totally misses the point of being an actor.
We embrace this path, I hope, out of a deep-seated thirst for humanity and truth. We have the opportunity to explore "human-ness", all sides of it, inside one lifetime, and this itself should make us more aware, more compassionate, kinder. We have plenty of occasions of delving into our dark side, our meanness, our pettiness, in a harmless (for others!) work setting. I mean, come on, so many good villains, so little time (and open calls…). With that kind of insight and freedom, why would anyone still choose to be a jerk?
Yes, I watch Smash. Mostly to laugh at Rachel Shukert recaps. She’s so mean, I love her.
And with this, I leave you with two of the sweetest gals around, who both love playing bitches and witches…
Another paradox if there ever was one.
"Titanic. Hindenburg. Pompei."
LAURE PORCHE is a former dancer, now a translator for the Children/YA branch of Hachette Publishing. In addition, she wrote the texts for the dance-theater solo "My house is nothing like my mother's". In september she will fulfill her lifelong dream of studying acting in New York by entering the Musical Theater program at Circle in the Square Theater School. www.laurelei.com
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