The careless and ungrateful work of an actor

Dear readers,

for this first editorial of the year, I have the pleasure and the honor to give voice to the great Italian actor Massimo Wertmuller, whom I thank for sharing this profound and true reflection about the brave life of an actor. Even more I thank him for allowing me to publish here his thought, which I want to share with you. If you are an actor, please read it very carefully.

Thank you,

Alessandro Parrello


AmletDear Friends and fellow actors,

I beg you, do not trust our job. In These days two actors committed suicide, as if it were a natural transition of the existence and not an horrible injustice. Two talented actors, intelligent and interesting, two beautiful “faces”, as a director would say, and in any case two decent people. I cannot know how much our work has to do with their desperate choice. I’m afraid, although, It has to do a lot. As it entered not only in other suicides but certainly in many depressions. Because acting is the only job that requires to reinvent yourself, to fight constantly for an applause or to get consideration and glory, just when you live the momentum, if and when there’s a professionally happy moment. More often, however, this work is careless, ungrateful. An actor can easily have the feeling that He didn’t reached any goal, no station on the way of his career. Bureaucratically an actor is also considered a “freelance”, when in fact he is always under the judgment and the choice of someone else. All of this gets worse, of course, with age. All this does’t happen, for instance, to a carpenter, a lawyer, to an engineer or a doctor, that once they’ve reached the success and got many clients, their business is absolutely safe. 

The actor, however, is always questioning, always precarious. Now, it is true that in here in Italy, where meritocracy is a tabu, even luck, along with the cunning or the ability to move, to make connections, can have its own important part in pursuing the success. Now you can even think that, as there is a low tide, so you can get back too high. So keep undoubtedly alive all your old love, the original motivation that made you choose this job, being ready to light up again, rightly so, each time you’ll be playing on stage again. But, dear friends, fragile, poetics, sensitive, beloved fellow actors, in addition to your passion, please don’t give away to this job also your soul. To realize yourself, to maintain your intimate serenity, look also elsewhere. Look to your affection, love, friendship, a beautiful sunset or a Civil participation, for example. I don’t necessarily say to the family (the original one, I mean), because often, certainly not for everyone, that’s a source of pain, it’s the less supportive place, with its lack of anticipation, with the most obtuse and selfish judgment, rather than an always friendly and protective nest. Be content, in short, of what surrounds you, thinking positive as much as you can. Look away from this work, whenever it’s making you suffer unjustly, because you don’t deserve that pain. Do it if you can. Above all, if doing this job is a matter of survival, then, even more in my opinion, you should consider the idea of planning an alternative. Life, fortunately, is still an opportunity, is still “destiny”, and everything can happen, so just let it be and smile.

Sorry if I disturbed you, and if I sounded a little like Socrates, but my intention was to share with you a thought to which I arrived  lately and it was very useful to me. But at the end of the day I can not accept the pain of those deaths.


Massimo Wertmuller



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