Going on

A colleague has just e-mailed me, saying ‘I need to find some space within my head so that I can breathe amidst all the noise.’

It is a cry one hears increasingly in our ever more frantic world and yet the very solution to it we too often shrug away. How can sitting silently, following the breath as it comes in and goes out, or mentally repeating a word or a phrase, help us to find a space of calm, so that we are not pushed to and fro by conflicting emotions?

Like so many things in life we have to begin with a commitment. We have to reach a point where we realise that to take time out to meditate, to be silent, to be still, is essential to our well being.

All creative activity is a challenge and a testing, whether it is living out a relationship with another human being, bringing up children or creating a work of art. Time and time again we fail. But we should never despair. Each of us is a vulnerable human being, not a god, and though we may frequently stumble and fall, we do not give up. We pick ourselves up and continue. We persevere. For the dedicated actor every night is a first night, a fresh start. As Samuel Beckett says at the end of his novel Malloy ‘I can’t go on. I must go on. I will go on.’


3 thoughts on “Going on”

  1. dear Joanna, what a wonderful quote from Beckett! thank you for sharing that.
    i am thinking much about Beckett these days as i have been given permission by the Beckett Estate to direct a double bill of All That Fall, and also Come and Go.
    I have never forgotten Jackie McGowran, Sam Beckett’s favourite actor at an evening at the Royal Court when Beckett’s work was being discussed, and Jackie McG. SAID, ‘sAM IS TRYING TO WRITE SHORTER AND SHORTER PLAYS, LEAVING IT TO THE ACTORS TO FILL IN THE SILENCES.’
    and i recall going round to see John Thaw after a performance of Krapp’s Last Tape, and commenting to him on the pauses, how we knew what he was thinking, and John replied, saying how in rehearsal he came to realise that the play was just one long silence occasionally interrupted by words!’
    happy and arm greetings, James

  2. Off topic, but I have just seen your production of “84 Charing Cross Road” at Salisbury. Simply excellent! A week ago I walked out of an execrable production of Stoppard’s “Arcadia” so your production restored my faith in theatre. Every single one of your actors including those with the small roles gave of their very best. I am at risk of gushing so I will write no more but thank you and your team for a first class production.

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