Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Talent is a responsibility 
not to be taken lightly

By Sheila Ivy Traister, Colorado SAG Branch
Have you looked in the mirror lately only to see worry and uncertainty staring back at you? 
That’s been the face most Americans have seen as we try to make sense of the mess we find ourselves in as a country and a nation among nations, all of whom are struggling to make sense of our current state of affairs.
When the world is crashing in around you, how do you as an artist find meaning in what you do? In whom you are? In what matters?
As an actor, I reflect on the fact that as a character in a story, whether it is a film, television show, play or any one of dozens of performance vehicles, I have the power to transform the moment and to uplift and enliven the human spirit. 
Through the exchange of ideas, dreams and fantasies, we have the power to create understanding where there has only been detachment, to usher in laughter where there have only been tears and to allow for healing where there has only been anger, pain and depression.
Throughout history, artists of all walks by way of music, poetry, plays, films, books, dance, the fine arts and more have challenged us to examine who we are and how it is we walk this life. Like the court jester who has an audience with the king, the artist has the ability through the realm of entertainment to cause us to question our behavior and the world we are creating. They can make us forget or remember, to want to try harder, to examine why, to not settle for, but instead challenge, existing paradigms and established modalities in order to usher in much needed change – be it within our our own selves or in the world around us.
Often it is simply the gift of making us smile for an hour or two so that we can forget the problems of the day in order to face tomorrow and the challenges it will surely bring with greater agility.
There is much beauty to celebrate in a world that appears to be crumbling around us. If we can find that in the gifts given us as performers, perhaps we can help others through the magic of our collaborations to do the same.
Let’s look for the places within that unite us in our common cause to celebrate life and one another. Let’s take up the challenge to be our best selves in the most difficult of times – even when our own work opportunities have dwindled under the weight of economic and political strife.
I do believe as artists we have an innate ability, akin to alchemy, to transform the mundane into magic. How will you as an artist, this very day, use your gifts to transform worry and uncertainty into a celebration of possibility and new dreams to create a new landscape for the year ahead?
Talent is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Honor it and embrace the gift you are to this world and share it unselfishly. Then rejoice as you reap.

First published in the Colorado Screen Actors Guild Newsletter.

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