We all have opinions. Even when we try not to we do. As an actor/writer and some say historian I work to make peace with the various aspects of the crafts. Why? Because in my opinion they don't always work together. When they do it is great, but many times it just doesn't happen. I shall use a couple of current projects to illustrate.
I will soon portray a woman who was on the board of directors of a half-way house here in Colorado Springs in the 20's. Not a lot is known. As the actor I will take what I can find, use that as the basis for my character development. Then I will make use of my opinions of what she might have said and why she said it. My leap of faith occurs when I make my choices about what I will actually say when speaking and answering questions. The historian takes the facts and make assumptions for the actor based on the available information. The actor then takes what is observed from the facts, makes opinions based on those facts and uses that to create the person that no longer exists, but needs to be as accurate as possible.
The second example is a fictional novel based on an event from the 1870's. There the information about the event is clearly stated in newspapers and others sources. As the author I take the information and create a world based on the events. I observe how people may have spoken, what they wore, how they acted. I then create an opinion about what I think may have occurred with the secondary characters in the event. My leap of faith is that I am creating a real world that may have happened, it simply was not recorded.
As writers, performers and historians, whatever label we place on ourselves we always observe, have an opinion and take a leap of faith that what we are doing is right. For the actor and the fiction writer it is easier. For the historian and non-fiction writer our opinions and leaps of faith take on a more important meaning. If we err to far from the truth we call into question our ability to perform our jobs. Still I would not follow this path if I did not feel that I have something to share with the world. The need to bring the lives of those who have preceded me and left their mark is more important than fear of making a mistake. If I can get one person to questions or feel the need to find out more, I have done my job.
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