An actor’s conscience is the most important component of the actor’s soul. I believe that within every actor is an inner voice that instantaneously tells you “right from wrong.”
Every gifted actor I have represented as a theatrical agent maintained a loyal friendship with this inner voice. As their friendship and adherence with their inner voice grew, so did their integrity. The very essence of an actor’s talent is their strength of conviction, confidence, and integrity; all of these attributes are fueled by the actor’s theatrical conscience.
I represented many daytime contract players on the Daytime Television – contract players on “One Life to Live,” who won their roles because of their training, talent, and a theatrical conscience that propelled them to get the role.
The actor-artist today is living in an industry that scoffs at artistry in acting and celebrates the commercialism, and whatever the “flavor of the month” performer is. It takes a strong actor fortified with armor given to him by his theatrical conscience to stand up against their agents, and publicists who want to “market their career.”
Our theatrical conscience also tells us to be true to the author’s words and message of the play, not to our constant obsession with our image; this is the weapon to use to maintain our theatrical conscience.
My late client, Gary Coleman as a child actor, possessed and maintained his theatrical conscience even as a child. He did this with his uncanny and miraculous ability to allow the character he was playing to possess him while performing, and he left his characters on the stage, and lived his personal life a child without the actor’s ego.
Are we listening to our Theatrical Conscience?
The proverbial writing is on the wall as they say. The onslaught of commercialism has infected the
craft of acting and actors to such a degree and our theatrical conscience is the only weapon we have to say “no” to commercialism as “the way it is.” Because those that profess the “the way it is” have the power to prevail and could make the craft of acting a mere thing of the past.
We need to protect our craft, our history, and our integrity. Our Theatrical Conscience is the answer.
The possession of the Theatrical Conscience in the entire artistic body of the craft of the theater is the only hope we have for maintaining the integrity of the craft of acting. It is not a sin to be an ‘idealist, traditionalist, who has the audacity to call himself a craftsman.
As students of the craft of acting we were loaded with ideals and a fervent respect for the craft of acting. We held the craft of acting and its history in reverence. The young student actor would proclaim “What a privilege it would be for me to be part of this great art!”The young actor would never diminish, denounce, insult, disrespect, or manipulate the art of acting or the theater. To do so would be to defy all that they held sacred in their hearts. In other words, we had a conscience.
An actor’s conscience is the most important component of the actor’s soul.
We must maintain our Theatrical Conscience and the entire artistic body of the craft and not surrender the integrity, tradition, and history of the art, to the businessmen and the entrepreneur who are masters of the ‘profit motive.’
We must maintain our Theatrical Conscience in dealing with the studio, television and theater industry executives, producers, agents, business accountants, and lawyers who try and sell us “a short-cut to success,” over-riding the importance and necessity of training, and lose the basics of our craft and art.
Every actor needs to listen to their Theatrical Conscience as it will motivate you to fight for the integrity and tradition of the art of acting.
Are we listening to our Theatrical Conscience? • 2010
VIC PERILLO Is the creator of the not-for-profit organization: The Center for the Trained Professional Performer, which presents showcases of recent theater school graduates. Mr. Perillo also continues to hold ‘Workshops for Actors’ in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Vancouver. A graduate of the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts, he studied at HB Studios, was an assistant director to Gordon Phillips at The Actors Studio, and an AFTRA field Rep (NYC) for seven years, creating and produced the first AFTRA SHOWCASE, which developed into the AFTRA/SAG Conservatory. Mr. Perillo worked as a Talent Agent for 20 years in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, (his clients included Gary Coleman, Kim Zimmer, Theresa Saldana, and many daytime performers). Mr. Perillo produced seven films for NBC, has written several feature films, and is currently in pre-production on a new mystery, ‘Mary Jane and the Mayor,” and a new children’s TV series, “The Bear Television Network” to be produced this fall. ActorBears@hotmail.com.