To paraphrase a quote from the musical A Chorus Line:
“If today were the day you had to stop (insert artistic endeavor), how would you feel?”
This then leads into the final song of the show, “What I Did For Love.” As somebody who has been fighting for my identity as an actor and a man, this song is very close to my heart. The song goes on to say, “Won’t forget, can’t regret, what I did for love.” I’m sure in whatever artistic medium we use, anybody who is in the arts can relate.
Although a script I wrote wasn’t accepted into the Series of Collaborative Shorts that are being filmed on campus right now, I was encouraged to pursue making it independently. This is now a very distinct possibility, as my friend Lauren is interested in directing it. Its title- Delirium of the Brave– is a change for me; it’s a script of symbolic optimism, although its source material is incidentally more pessimistic in tone. The title comes from a line from W.B. Yeats’ poem “September 1913.” The delirium of the brave referred to is of the autonomy movement of Yeats’ version of Romantic Ireland. Although the poem is a condemnation of the middle class, I meant for this script to be more metaphorical, and also create its own story.
It’s a story that any artist can relate to: what it means to be an artist. It’s about the nature of acting, directing, whatever medium we choose. So many times, we’re told we’ll never make it, or it’s too impractical, etc. But without art, we’d be living in a very dull world. This is what we do for love- we create. We strive, we struggle, we push on in the face of our critics. To me, that’s always what it meant to keep acting.
Thus, Delirium of the Brave is a story for dreamers. Yeats mentions his inspiration John O’Leary in the last line of all four stanzas. The first three stanzas end as such:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone/It’s with O’Leary in the grave.
The last stanza, however, is more direct, almost as if Yeats is speaking to his critics. To tie it in to the story, our protagonist Brock O’Leary (yes, it’s an homage) uses this final stanza as his audition piece for a show within a show. It goes as such:
Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You’d cry `Some woman’s yellow hair
Has maddened every mother’s son’:
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they’re dead and gone,
They’re with O’Leary in the grave.
The way I have it written is for Brock to use it as a way to silence his critics; the Brock O’Leary they want to know is gone, and the Brock O’Leary that he is must emerge, even if it means chasing delirium.
Chase your delirium, artists. Never let anybody dissuade you. You are the only one who should decide when enough is enough. If and when that day comes when you can’t do it anymore, walk away proudly. Let the tears come, if they must. It’s like being a pro athlete- it’s hard to say goodbye to your passion. Hopefully, we won’t ever have to, or just put it on hiatus for a while.
For once, I wrote a happy ending. It’s a message of hope for anybody who’s struggling to hold on to dreams, or even to hold on to anything. If it ever does get made, this one is for all of you.