I Believe This About Acting
Continued / 4

  SIEGEL. I'll relieve you—it's not. Do you think streets are boring? 


  SIEGEL. And rooms, and scraps of paper, and sweater threads? Do you think the edge of this board is boring? 

  FIELDING. (pause) Now that I've looked at it, it isn't boring. 

  SIEGEL. As soon as you see a thing as individual, it's not boring. The edge of this board has opposites, for one thing, and that makes it interesting. What do you think should be between moments? . . . 

And there was also this: 

  SIEGEL. Is a play all high points? 


  SIEGEL. What's in between? 

  FIELDING. Homespun? 

  SIEGEL. Is a symphony all high points? 


  SIEGEL. That's what Liberace gave you—only the high points. Your notion of drama is different from mine. Drama doesn't fight reality, it shows what reality is. 

For the first time I knew why I cared for acting, and I was proud of my choice. 

In his 1951 lecture on acting, Siegel says: 

    This possibility of loving the world that we have through acting is much worthy of study. . . . Since a human being is a compound of is and might, a compound of what's before him and what can be imagined, in all sincerity we have an element that is like acting. Everybody wants to be himself, and that means being other things besides oneself. 
A performance of recent times seen as extraordinary was Zero Mostel's in lonesco's Rhinoceros. Did he become other than himself! Without makeup or costume change, Mostel literally became a rhinoceros right before the eyes of the audience.