Marian Seldes: Everyone Glows


Jan Miner and Marian Seldes as Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Gertrude Stein and a Companion, 1986. Photograph by Peter Cunningham

We believe too quickly the slightest bit of negativity, no matter its source. I have worked with so many wonderful actors–professional and burgeoning students–and they have made so many mistakes, so many wrong turns, so many bold but unwise moves. So have I. This is how we grow, and a better actor is born. We are better because of the mistakes we have made, and there are no safe journeys toward our goals. We have to extend ourselves.

What I stressed with students–and often with actors with whom I worked–is to take, with equal weight, the supportive, kind, praise-filled words as well as those that offered any criticism. I long for a world in which actors no longer quote from memory their cruel notices, and remember, with sweetness, those people who loved them, were moved by them. Everyone glows at some points.

From a conversation in 2000, when Marian was in Houston, Texas, performing in Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?


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