In this world nothing can be said to be certain, but death and taxes. – Benjamin Franklin
Yesterday, Philip Seymour Hoffman died. And I did my taxes.
I was shocked to see PSH trending on social media Sunday afternoon. I was among the many hoping that it was a hoax. It wasn’t. It was the final role of a flawed man in despair played with the usual signature PSH perfection.
I never met him. I was a mere admirer of his talent. His death still hit me. Heath Ledger’s death still haunts me. Actors provide such a meaningful escape into a surreal reality. We watch them wrestle with their demons from an audience vantage point. Their drama is so real we lose ourselves in the fantasy of it all. We check our problems at the door. For a brief 2/3-hour stint, it’s someone else’s problem. With any luck, we leave the theatre feeling grateful or even hopeful for our own life. Our life, in contrast, seems more manageable.
You think that because I’m a movie star I don’t have feelings. Well you’re wrong. I’m an actress. I’ve got all of them! – Goldie Hawn in “First Wives Club”
The best actors are the ones that can make us feel. They are able to pull us into their passionate turmoil. They make us feel the moment. We laugh. We cry. We sob. To create that kind of theatrical connection, the best actor must be raw with volatile emotions. To evoke strong reactions from an audience, actors must continually rip off the scab and openly bleed. Their craft requires their heartbreaking vulnerability. They ingest the pain to find the truth in the art.
When the performance is done, and the applause subsides and the groupies go home, an actor is left isolated and alone with just his angst. Emotions aren’t shut off at the end of the scene. They are alive and pulsating just below the surface.
Oh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, your work will be missed. RIP, PSH!
I don’t need the tabloid sensationalism revealing the sad details of PSH’s final moments. Suffice to say, heroin sucks! Addiction sucks! Addicts, get help!
Anyway, I was already bummed out about PSH and worried about other drug users so I did my taxes. The cheerless activity, courtesy of the government, was the distraction I needed.