Richard Armitage as John Proctor in The Crucible
There are two kinds of people I am particularly fascinated by, writers and actors. Not for the glamour surrounding them. In fact, I'm not interested in the extremely popular ones, the very famous. Honestly, I'm more attracted to their jobs, than to their popularity or personal life. I consider good acting and good writing the result of meticulous craftsmanship, artistry and, only rarely, art. I'm particularly drawn to these two categories of people, widely known or not,  since their professions are somewhat magical to me. 
They've got the power to create life, to give life through words.

I know actors use their whole bodies, so , let's say, mostly through words. Most of an actor's job is based on words, and they are very often essential to the achievement of the main goal: a successful performance. 

Meeting author Fabio Stassi 
Writers and actors create life through words, they give life to characters, and characters do not only represent people, they are people once the actors lend them their bodies and voices.

I love to think  that , more than stories, actors and writers create personae (persons in Latin, characters in English)  and they,  the characters, interacting, contribute their story. They are not mere fiction, they are not unreal. They live,  and they live on long in certain cases,  in our minds and hearts. Longer than the human being who created them. 

As for actors, once they are in a movie, for instance,  they never actually die. The go on living in their characters, in those frames. They go on giving them life and voice. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see ... in Shakespeare's words.

Listening to writer Erri Luca at the public library
Another analogy is that in both professions, acting and writing,  what is important is "how", not "what". It makes these jobs quite different from others: "how" not "what" is what really matters and again, even the "how" depends pretty much on words.

Did I ever wish to be a writer? Yes, I did. From my childhood to my university years. Then, while coping with literary translation, I had my epiphany: I was not talented, not good enough with words. Each word was a fight, each page an epic battle, to get to the end of the work often a nightmarish experience. I so wanted to be a translator, but I got to hate the job after endless sleepless nights. 

Capulets and Montagues in Giulietta e Romeo The Musical
An actress? Never. Never wanted to be a performer. Though I enjoyed my singing lessons and used to sing in a choir, when I was on the brink of entering Rome's Conservatorio (Music Academy), I shrank and ran away,  because I didn't want to  - or just couldn't - face the anxiety and adrenaline rushes that performing alone on a stage provoked and would go on provoking in me. I hate to be under the spotlight or talk to audiences, I like to be in the shadow,  I usually wear black clothes to pass unobserved and avoid drawing attention on me. It may sound strange but I don't think I lack self - confidence, it is that I  hate being the centre of other people's attention because it makes me terribly nervous. I'm not particularly shy, I just hate to have to perform for an audience. It doesn't make sense, I know. I'd need an expert psychologist. 

Greg Baldock on stage 
Let's leave obscure, plain me and go back to writers and actors. The appeal has even grown after I started blogging. Luckily, in these last five years,  I have virtually met and interviewed lots of writers and several actors/musicians and that, instead of reducing my curiosity,  has contributed to increasing it.
I love asking them questions and, especially, reading their answers in order to discover more about them as people and artists.

Among my interviews with actors, I still remember Lara Parmiani, an Italian actress living in London;  Greg Baldock brilliant at The Old Vic as Tom Hollander’s understudy;  Antonia and Noel Byrne, who tour all over England as The Box Tale Soup,  or still  Austentatious with their comedic revisitation of my beloved Jane Austen’s work.  

Austentatious - Official picture

Even more thrilling is meeting actors and writers in person and to have the chance to talk with them. I’ve always found it an enriching experience, even when you are only lucky enough to listen to them speaking, with no chance of asking them any question or chat with them. 

I’ve also featured interviews with lots of writers on FLY HIGH! and some of them have become my blogomates and supporters, and  have  helped me enhance my activity as a blogger. 

My interest in acting and writing has brought me great emotional moments this year, among which going to Rome to see Romeo and Juliet the musical or to London to see  The Crucible with Richard Armitage, FieramenteilLibro or  meeting  Erri De Luca in my hometown. 

I don't actually see them as idols, but as very interesting, fascinating human beings. I am not interested in their fame or money, those are not my main goals in life,  but in their being successful in what they do or like doing. So,  if I find writers or actors who work hard and  are very good at what they do regardless fame, they become very special human beings to me. Models, not idols.  

Is there a particular category of people you are fascinated by,  admire particularly? 


Prue Batten said...

An insightful post, Fly High. Idolatry has no place in appreciation of the arts, but respect and being intrigued does and you have explained it so well. This is once again why I would place your blog at the top of the tree when reading blogs about the arts. Thank you so much for this!

Maria Grazia said...

You are always so kind to me, Prue, and I'm humbled and flattered at the same time. Especially, because you are one of those writers who can do magic with words and I greatly admire. You know I was thinking of you while mentioning writers I virtually met while blogging, who became my "blogomates" and dear supportive friends :-) Love and a huge hug to you, Prue!
P.S. I can't wait to read and review Book 3 of your Gisborne saga. I've been distracted by and caught in so many other things that I still haven't, but I'll catch up as soon as possible.