When you talk to a successful actor about their story, they will often tell you about the highs, they will cut straight to the happy ending. If you dig a little deeper they might tell you about the days when everything seemed impossible, about the days when they wanted to quit. They might tell you about the frustration.
Frustration is an essential part of the creative process. When you are dealing with a new play, when you are working on a new character, when you are learning lines, rehearsing, when you are involved in creating anything, you will at some time find yourself in the ‘frustration zone’ and it is a perfectly natural and good place to be, so don’t think its wrong.
Before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment.
Before we can find an answer to anything, sometimes before we even know what the question is, we need to be disappointed, we need to be convinced that the solution is never going to appear. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost the battle, because it is probably only after you have stopped searching that the answer will arrive.
Ease-of-use is the disease you have to fight, in any creative field.
As actors we are different from most people in this world, we are different from the norm, because we strive for creativity and it is important that you understand and appreciate the frustration which walks hand in hand with the creative.
Most people wouldn’t want to find themselves lost in creativity, most people look for the ‘easy’ route, the ‘safe’ route, most people are happy to sleepwalk through life. Not us actors. We know and accept that creativity is a struggle, we look for opportunities to stretch ourselves, we want to be outside of our comfort zones because it is there that the magic happens.
When we look into other creative industries outside of acting we can see many examples of frustration, hard work, and challenge creating something wonderful, something truly individual, standing out from the crowd.
Jack White from The White Stripes deliberately plays old guitars which are a little quirky and out of tune. He wants to struggle, he knows that from frustration and struggle will come something beautiful and unique.
Haiku poetry is truly beautiful but with its syllable limit is difficult to write, it certainly takes frustration and discipline. Freestyle writing is easy, great poetry is difficult.
A Saville Row tailor could use a machine to stitch their suits, but they know that hand stitched will create a better garment, the struggle and frustration will show and the result will be more beautiful.
frustration makes satisfaction possible in the way that hunger can make a meal delicious
Adam Phillips a respected psychoanalyst teaches that we should ‘dismiss our futile obsession with the pursuit of happiness’ and that we should instead learn to understand and revel in our frustration.
It is only when we have been truly frustrated that we will find and appreciate the beauty in our creations.