McKinley Belcher III on Re-connecting With The Theater

Career Dispatches

McKinley Belcher III on Re-connecting With The Theater

By McKinley Belcher III

August 1, 2012


McKinley Belcher III
The theater is a really important place for me. It's a sanctuary of sorts. I dare say it's a vital part of an actor's journey and development -- or at least vital to the kind of actor I aspire to be. Of course, I'm not so daft as to think every successful actor got started in the theater. We can all think of famous performers who have never set foot on a stage, but among respected, long-lived actors, there are far more who have than have not. No one argues with the genius of artists such as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, and Dustin Hoffman. But there are thousands like them who got their start in the theater and have sustained decades-spanning careers in theater, film, and TV. And they all champion the relationship they've had with the stage. To me, this is no accident.

The theater is the only place actors can commune with an audience without a filter. It's also where I learn the most about and have the most control over storytelling. There are no crutches; there is only my instrument, my voice, my body, and my heart. Every time I do a play, I'm reminded of this and how much I grow and change through the process. This growth definitely carries over into my work in every medium available to actors.

By press time, we'll be well into our run of "As You Like It" at the Shakespeare Center of L.A. But tonight was our first preview. It was great finally sharing with an audience. Suddenly there's this other energy that feeds and teaches you about the play you've been working on for weeks. It was clear by the laughter and occasional appropriate stillness that viewers were "in it" with us. Their mere presence was a silent reminder for us to let everything go and listen and play. I'm excited about exploring tomorrow and sharing this beautifully classic story again.

Since I last wrote, I've done a commercial for Steinlager beer, which is based in New Zealand. I played a bartender; it was a short but fun day of work. I also came excruciatingly close to booking a recurring role on a Showtime show that will remain nameless.

But I'm optimistic and excited about the next two projects I have coming up. I'll have a fitting for John Sayles' new feature film, "Go For Sisters," in a few days and start shooting as soon as we close "As You Like It" later this month. I'm also gearing up to make some important decisions about the ongoing conversation I've had with myself about being in New York or Los Angeles. Onwards and upwards.


McKinley Belcher III on Re-connecting With The Theater

By McKinley Belcher III

August 1, 2012


McKinley Belcher III
The theater is a really important place for me. It's a sanctuary of sorts. I dare say it's a vital part of an actor's journey and development -- or at least vital to the kind of actor I aspire to be. Of course, I'm not so daft as to think every successful actor got started in the theater. We can all think of famous performers who have never set foot on a stage, but among respected, long-lived actors, there are far more who have than have not. No one argues with the genius of artists such as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, and Dustin Hoffman. But there are thousands like them who got their start in the theater and have sustained decades-spanning careers in theater, film, and TV. And they all champion the relationship they've had with the stage. To me, this is no accident.

The theater is the only place actors can commune with an audience without a filter. It's also where I learn the most about and have the most control over storytelling. There are no crutches; there is only my instrument, my voice, my body, and my heart. Every time I do a play, I'm reminded of this and how much I grow and change through the process. This growth definitely carries over into my work in every medium available to actors.

By press time, we'll be well into our run of "As You Like It" at the Shakespeare Center of L.A. But tonight was our first preview. It was great finally sharing with an audience. Suddenly there's this other energy that feeds and teaches you about the play you've been working on for weeks. It was clear by the laughter and occasional appropriate stillness that viewers were "in it" with us. Their mere presence was a silent reminder for us to let everything go and listen and play. I'm excited about exploring tomorrow and sharing this beautifully classic story again.

Since I last wrote, I've done a commercial for Steinlager beer, which is based in New Zealand. I played a bartender; it was a short but fun day of work. I also came excruciatingly close to booking a recurring role on a Showtime show that will remain nameless.

But I'm optimistic and excited about the next two projects I have coming up. I'll have a fitting for John Sayles' new feature film, "Go For Sisters," in a few days and start shooting as soon as we close "As You Like It" later this month. I'm also gearing up to make some important decisions about the ongoing conversation I've had with myself about being in New York or Los Angeles. Onwards and upwards.
 
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