‘I don’t really have anything new to offer. I’m just playing now ‘til I drop. I can try something new…but mostly I’ve resolved into a sort of habit form of playing. I play things that are familiar to me.’ Eric Clapton, Royal Albert Hall interview, 2017.
It’s always interesting to hear what the experienced players have to say about their process and their journey.
The roles I play now are in me already. I can basically play an adjective, a type and it’s real and connected as I’ve played it before. It’s mine. I don’t always need to do character work or research. I’ve played that note, I know it, like it - as an old friend.
When you’ve done it for a lifetime the groove is familiar. Ease and grace. In touch with the unconscious.
Starting can still be difficult. Painters, actors, writers and others can - even after a lifetime of experience - find it difficult to start. Each new script is different, the cast, director, cinematographer.
And yet familiar.
A long-time actor relates it his way:
‘I rely, as always, on my own flawed intelligence, instinct and sense of human nature to provide me with a unique ‘take’ on a role, then it’s a matter of trial and error to find an effective way to manifest that take. I worry constantly that I’m blind to something or am missing the point entirely. This is a difficult way to work…yet it’s the only way I know…but I’m no longer as afraid of failure as I once was.’
From time to time it’s useful to compare how you work to those who have done it a lifetime.
Talk to and look at the masters.