BlogElul Day 2: Act

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.

“It always goes back to the theater degree, doesn’t it?”

That was the comment by a friend around the dinner table one Shabbat. And it’s true. For over a decade, acting was my primary (and sometimes singular) pursuit. Theater carried me from my tweens and teens all the way through college. It gave me my first real job out of college. In my most formative years, it was what defined me.

So when I hear someone say “you have to act”, that word carries a very particular nuance for me. Not just the “doing”, but the presentation to the outside world of doing.

For some that may sound tantamount to going through the motions. To the emotionally empty recitation of prayers devoid of meaning or personal committment. “Acting” in this context carries the implication that “I don’t really care – I’m just putting on an act.”

Anyone who’s spent any time on stage knows this couldn’t be further from the truth.

To stand in front of audience and be convincing, you have to be MORE – not less – committed to what you are saying. Your words must have a life-or-death importance to you. An urgency that transcends everyday speech. On stage, to be truly believable, every emotion is heightened.

Every action is essential, nothing omitted, nothing unnecessary.

In less than a month, on Rosh Hashana 5774, I am booked to act in the most important performance of my year, for an audience of One. My life depends on a positive review.

It always comes back to the theater degree, doesn’t it?