Monday, January 07, 2008

Mother Teresa on Theatre

Who was it who recently wrote on their blog that they were reading Anne Bogart's And Then, You Act?

I can't find the blogger to thank them. For some reason, when I read their post, I could sense that I needed to read this book. I ordered it right away -- and I had just received in my inbox a 40% off coupon for Barnes and Noble if I used a Mastercard to order. The stars were in alignment.

Tonight, I just want to share the following from Bogart's chapter on "Intention":

"My friend Morgan Jenness admired Mother Teresa, now Blessed Mother Teresa, and at difficult personal junctures, the mere thought of her provided inspiration. Although now a playwright's agent, Morgan worked for many years with the legendary producer Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival in New York City. One day, feeling especially depressed about her sesne of uselessness in the world, Morgan heard that Mother Teresa would be in Manhattan. She dropped everything and headed to the Indian Embassy in the hope that she might appear. Standing outside the embassy, Mother Teresa did emerge, surrounded by an entourage, and Morgan managed to capture her attention. She stopped, turned, looked at Morgan right in the eyes and asked, 'What can I do for you?' In the midst of her surprise and awe, Morgan described her work in the theatreand how she had lost all her will as she did not see any usefulness in it and then and there declared her determination to go to India and be of use. Mother Teresa spoke sternly, 'There are many famines. In my country there is a famine of the body. In your country there is a famine of the spirit. And that is what you must feed."

Have you ever noticed how the really great people in the world are able to listen, and then compress into a very few words something deeply insightful? Distilled.

Anyway, that story just spoke to something deep within me. When I teach, and when I create a production, my highest wish is to feed a starving spirit. At least one.


isaac said...

hey scott!

that was either me or matt slaybaugh, i think.

Scott Walters said...

Hi Isaac! I thought it was you, but I couldn't find it. Didn't you h/t Slay in your post?

What a great, great book. If you're looking for nuts-and-bolts how-to stuff, you'll be mostly unsatisfied. But if you're looking for inspiration and focus -- man, it is really good. Thanks so much for writing about it!