The Advice of Anna Magnani To Anyone Hoping To Be An Artist
Journal Entry, 1982
According to Tenn, Anna Magnani was approached by several actors--many of them deeply embedded--hopelessly, Tenn believed--in the study of the Method. Magnani found their work lacking, not to mention their spirits and their stamina. Frustrated, she turned to them and told them that they needed to answer some basic questions before they began their work, and they were foolish to look to any one teacher for reassurance.
Magnani asked the assembled if they were willing to ask themselves the following questions before they even began to tackle a role.
1. What did your mother smell like when she held you in a moment of crisis, and comfort came? If it did.
2. How did the wind feel on your skin when you first felt the rush of love?
3. What were you eating on that occasion when fear pierced your heart and forced the
breath out of your lungs?
4. What texture of wood did you reach out to touch when you were hiding or lurking
and heard something not meant for your ears or your sensibilities?
5. In what time do you feel you are living?
6. When did the groundlessness that perhaps only you feel or recognize or warn against begin?
7. What is missing? Do you know its location? Are you willing to share it? To lead others
to its promises, often unfulfilled.
8. How brave are you?