Before I decided to pursue writing as a career, I studied acting. As I study another angle of art, I often find that mediums and outlets are all part of the same whole. I have learned more about writing from the theater than from writing classes just as I have found love and appreciation for performance when working on my writing.
The other day I was in my fiction class and we discussed To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf. I found myself analyzing the content and form the way I would a script. I asked about given circumstances, such as the time period and the implications on society that it held. How did those implications (gender roles, religious expectations, and so forth) effect the way the characters either behaved or thought about the world around them? I also related the modernist work to the realist movement in theater. Realism often deals with the inner struggles and darkness of ordinary men and women told through a rather mundane narrative. Woolf’s characters in To the Lighthouse deal with issues of mortality (of both body and work), relationships, their roles in society, insecurity, and so on. However, not much happens through the course of the novel.
This sort of cross relation occurs frequently in my studies. I am still considered a theater major with a writing minor, so I encounter both on a regular basis. Every time connections are made, I am in wonder of how closely related all art is. Artists are artists in the soul, not just in dead. We all just choose a medium to express whatever it is we feel needs expressing.
At the end of each semester, acting majors have to go to an evaluation of sorts. We sit at a conference table with all the acting faculty and talk about the work we’ve done in the past twelve weeks. I’ve gone through five of those evaluations. I remember specific comments. When I took voice class, I showed my professor drawings and writings I had done that were inspired by experiences in class. At the meeting, she told me I had the “soul of an artist.” Others around the table nodded. I was flattered.
A year later, another of my professors told me he wasn’t sure I wanted to be an actor. He said I could be, just that he didn’t know that that was where my passion was. I wrote the comment off for another semester when he told me the same thing.
Summer came around. I should have been preparing for auditions, but I didn’t do it. Instead, is spent my free time watching writing lectures online.
I laughed. My professor was right.
I sometimes miss acting, but when I realize that all art is from the same source, I am reassured. Just as my theater peers produce art on the stage, I produce art on the page.