Colleen Dewhurst: Rise To Whatever You Want

Colleen Dewhurst in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, in 1973, a role that blew her heart apart.

From Interview Conducted 1989
New York City

The dream we hold for anything is not in vain. Having the dream realized is rare or sporadic, but it's real. This is true in the theatre; this is true in marriage; this is true in friendship; it's very painfully true in motherhood. What I mean is you come into all of these things with ideas of what it should be, could be,  must be, and the reality is grittier, tougher. It's still beautiful and worthy and worth it all, but you still get hit in the face with how hard things are.

It's worth it.

It's worth it when your heart swells with love; it's worth it when you look out and coming to the door is a friend who wants to help; it's worth it when you see that your kids are going to be alright-- they get it. It's worth it when you have a part that speaks to your heart, blows it open with all that it provides as a challenge, and when it works, when you connect with your fellow actors and your audience.

I can think on all this--a kind of prayer, I guess--when I'm driving home from whatever I've faced.

I'm tired of people complaining about the theatre--about everything. The world will survive, for God's sake, and so will the theatre. It's going to change; it's going to look unlike anything you dreamed of, but it's worth the fights and the challenges, and I'm telling you that none of that beauty and none of those rewards are going to the people who keep whining about how it--whatever it is--didn't meet their expectations. Rise to whatever you want and meet it on its terms, then rise above them. 

You have to have a child to try to be good mother. You have to be in the thick of the theatre to earn a part that will test you to become a good actor. You have to be a good friend to become a good person.

You know what I'm saying? Live your fucking life. Be in the middle of it, working on it.

Colleen with Elizabeth Wilson in Thomas Babe's Taken in Marriage, 1979. Colleen referred to Wilson as one of  her closest friends, a woman "who made life worthwhile." /Photo courtesy of Photofest/

© 2013 by James Grissom


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