I had one brief individual encounter with Philip Seymour Hoffman about three years ago during an audition for one of the plays he was producing with his company, the Labyrinth Theater. When I met him, he was encouraging, kind, and commented on the fact that we both had studied with the same people at Circle in the Square Theatre School. I am proud to have had the opportunity, however brief, to be in the presence of one of the people I truly looked up to as an actor. Without a doubt, he was, and still remains, one of my favorite actors.
I’m not going to delve into the addiction side of his death. That’s a separate article all together. However, I will say, that we all have our own demons and personal challenges that we deal with everyday. We never know what is going on with someone in their personal life, so the last thing I want to do is speculate and pigeon-hole him as an addict.While that was the thing that led to his downfall, it in no way lessens the impact he had on those who admired his work as an actor and director.
That being said, we have to help each other. We need to listen to each other because at the end of the day, we all want someone to hear us. Rest in Peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. You were truly one of the greatest actors. You will be missed.
Two things I learned while at Circle: that theatre matters, and that acting is an art form as great as any other. –Philip Seymour Hoffman.
At the beginning of our classes at Circle, Alan Langdon (with whom Philip Seymour Hoffman also studied) made us read the following aloud. To this day, I still recite it whenever I need to remind myself, that yes, I am an actor.
The Actors’ Vow
From Elia Kazan
I will take my rightful place on the stage
And I will be myself.
I am not a cosmic orphan, I have no reason to be timid.
I will respond as I feel; awkwardly, vulgarly,
I will have my throat open.
I will have my heart open.
I will be vulnerable.
I may have anything or everything
The world has to offer,
But the thing I need most,
And want most, is to be myself.
I will admit rejection, admit pain, admit shame,
Admit outrage, admit anything and
Everything that happens to me.
The best and most human parts of me are
Those I have inhabited and hidden from
I will work on it.
I will raise my voice.
I will be heard.