"I love the chemistry that can be created onstage between the actors and the audience. It's molecular even, the energies that can go back and forth. I started in theater. and when I first went into movies I felt that my energy was going to blow out the camera." - Glenn Close
Sooooo my Christmas gift to myself today was to treat myself to a film...a great film. I chose to see Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. (Though Glenn Close is not a graduate of NYU, Yale or Juilliard...I am happy to feature her on this blog...because...as we all know...one does NOT need to have an MFA from one of these schools to be a great actor.)
Albert Nobbs is an incredibly beautiful film filled with subtle and emotionally resonant performances. I would like to call your attention to one particular scene where Albert Nobbs (a woman who has been passing as a man for 30 years in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland) is asked a simple question..."What's your real name?"... Watch the clip...Then let's discuss...
Awesome. Isn't Glenn Close brilliant!? Sooooo much going on in that reaction, yet so simple. LOVE it.
This scene got me thinking about the realities we all create for ourselves. She's been living as a man for 30 YEARS!!! That is a looooooong time to be playing a role...so much so that she's BECOME Albert. That's her IDENTITY now. She identifies herself only as Albert, but she is in fact a WOMAN. I love the complexity of that!
And aren't we all complex in that way? Okay, maybe not so much with the gender-bending thing...but in other ways...We identify ourselves with certain labels that we fully believe...because we've created a reality for ourselves where that has become our truth...(ex. I am an actor. I like earl grey tea. I live in Astoria.)
So...what if...in order to survive in 21st century America...I had to completely change my reality, my identity and make myself into somebody else in order to live the life I want to live? Could I give up earl grey tea? Could I give up my identity? Could I move to a different city? Change my name? What kind of trauma would cause me to need to make such changes?
I find all of that fascinating...Mostly because...I feel like I AM doing that...creating my new reality...Only, I'll keep my name and I am not giving up earl grey tea. But I have completely changed the circumstances of where I live and where I work and redefining my identity as an artist...all in the name of survival...creative survival.
The creative direction of my life was NOOOOT leading me in the direction that I wanted to go. So I'm creating a new reality, where I am able to be who I am...who I see myself as...who I am becoming.
I mean, if you felt like who you had become was not working out so well or not making you happy...who's to say you can't change? Become the person you want to become. The person you know you want to be, deep inside. Live as this person...act as this person would act...until you believe it in your core...and love yourself as much as possible...Albert could probably stand to throw in a little more self-loving, I think. But, man, she's super brave for transforming herself and recreating her life on her own terms.
She knows who she is... because she's created herself. She is Albert.
I think that's courageous. Courage is what I see when I watch the clip above. But like with any great performance...you may see something completely different reflected back at you.
Thoughts? Care to share? Disagree with me? Would love to hear other perspectives. Comments are always welcome below.
P.S. Merry Christmas!
P.P.S. Submitted my NYU application and scheduled my audition for 9am on Sunday, January 22nd. Yay!!!
P.P.P.S. Only one more application left to complete...Yale. That's next on the agenda...Last, but not least. :-)