You can’t runaway from some October wisdom. From the gallery of amazing individuals that have inspired me throughout my whole life now, I may gladly add a new artist – Tim Robbins who shares the same birth date with one of my favourite musicians, John Mayer. Tonight was very special because after the conference, members of the audience could ask the American actor and director some questions and his answers not only that they were positive, but they were also realistic. And to be positive and realistic at the same time is quite a rare phenomenon nowadays in the politically correct world in which you can get easily get lost if you don’t stand your ground. Tim Robbins is an actor, screenwriter, director, theater producer, activist and musician and runs his own theater company named The Actor’s Gang, who was invited at the International Theater Festival from Sibiu with the performance A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. The show can be seen in Bucharest also at the Theater Comedy.
Tim Robbins: The moment when you become a successful actor, a star or a celebrity or famous, the artificial starts to come in. People start telling you things that are complimenting you. They try make you feel good. And that’s the moment you go South. That’s the moment that you become too full of yourself, then you start going on road that will lead to your decline. I was very fortunate that I have a theater company and I always go back to my theater company. So I would be a star in a movie then I go into a room with some actors and I try to work something out, some new play, some expressionist play, some new card. Because I have the theater company I was able to stay away from this idea of fame and what a celebrity is. That’s a very dangerous name for a young person. It is something that can wind up hurting people in a very big way.
I see these young people that suddenly they cannot go anywhere in public without bodyguards. Also they make the judgement that they are too famous for people. And that always is bad, because they start losing touch with what real life is. I chose not to do that. I live in New York city, I walk down the street every day and occasionaly someone would go Hey! and I go Hey! But I wasn’t surrounded by protection. I needed to be able to walk with my kids to school. I needed to be as anonymous as I could be.
I have been discovering things the past five years that are grand with me, new receptions of reality. There is a book I discovered last years is called De rerum natura by Lucretius, a poem about life, which was written in the year 300 B.C.. Everytime I pick up this book, I don’t want to finish it, I just want to take a little bit from it one at a time, because it’s a beautiful vision of life. Lucretius was an epicurian Epicurians believed that the whole purpose of life was to seek pleasure and avoid pain. And in this book and in the teachings of Epicurus, they believe that all life came out colliding atoms. These are writings about life that can be found in The Declaration of Independence. This book was lost for a 1000 years and it was found in a monastery in Germany and someone took it back to civilization. So, how this piece of wisdom came to us through thousands of years I am incredibly fascinated. A little spark of life has remained for two thousand years and then it lit my mind last year. That makes me belive in the humility of existance, because I don’t know everything, I’m just learning stuff still. I will hopefully continuing to learn new stuff and new perceptions of reality until I die. The whole purpose of life is to acquire a sense of imbalance, not totally figuring everything out. Even the ZEN masters will tell you that you have to have humility in order to achieve a role. You can’t think I got this.
I always tell my actors – Once you’ve done a great performance and you think I’ve got this, the worst performance is coming up. Once you’ve said I got this you’re assuming that this new audience, this new chemistry of people is going to respond as the last audience did, but they’re not going to. So I try to encourage them: Mean this people now! There’s a different chemistry in this room, then there was last time. So I’ll live in the sense of adventure, not in the sense of knowing.
Seeking pleasure is not indulging, seeking pleasure means waking up and seeing the sunlight that wasn’t there yesterday, feeling a breeze that hits you. Avoiding pain is avoiding philosophies that insist that you’ll be in pain. Let’s get rid of that idea of feeling guilty. Let’s live free!