Commonplace

“That was one of the reasons that Grotovski gave up the theatre. He just felt that people in their lives now were performing so well that performance in the theatre was sort of superfluous and, in a way, obscene. Isn’t it amazing how often a doctor will live up to the expectation of how a doctor should look? We see a terrorist on television, and he looks just like a terrorist! I mean, we live in a world in which fathers and single people and artists are all trying to live up to someone’s fantasy of how a father or a single person or an artist should look and behave.”
—Andre Gregory, in Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre (1981)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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3 Responses to Commonplace

  1. winter says:

    Sounds like a compelling argument for reality TV.

  2. Franje says:

    Hi, just wondering why you included that passage?
    I thought there were many quotable passages in that movie.

  3. QB says:

    I saw the movie for the first time this weekend; now that I’ve seen it, I wish I hadn’t waited so long. On paper, it sounds terribly dull–two guys have a dinner conversation. That’s it. On celluloid, however, it’s mesmerizing. Anyway, that quote–and the tangent of talk from which it arose–made my hair stand on end. As Winter implied, it’s a quote that, 24 years later, is perhaps even more true today than when it was originally said. We spend so much of our lives performing, playing a role, that we either lose sight of who we are or we become what we are pretending to be. My mind immediately flashed to a line from Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night: “You are what you pretend to be, so be careful what you pretend to be.”

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