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  • Josep M. Pou: ''I prefer to fail at what I love than to succeed at what I hate''

Josep M. Pou: ''I prefer to fail at what I love than to succeed at what I hate''

The key words that come into my mind within the framework of the IMPULSA Forum are: youth, talent, creation, risk and entrepreneurship, with all of them passed through the sieve of my viewpoint as an actor, from the sector of theatre and of culture. Youth, talent, creation, risk and entrepreneurship also form the basis of my own work. To them I would now add experience, for I have now worked for 46 years as an actor.

  • Josep Mª Pou

Being an actor is a way of understanding life, involving a commitment to oneself and to society. If our work has a certain capacity to attract people, to the point of achieving that miracle of having a group of people decide at a specific time to gather in a precinct called ‘a theatre’, pay for a ticket, stop the clocks of their lives and leave a two-hour gap in their agenda for us to fill with our stories, then we have to take advantage of that act of generosity. It would be a sin to make them waste their time on daft, absurd stories. What we try to do is make them better people, spiritually richer than when they came in.

What I would say to a young person starting a career as an actor, or any other career, is:

- Don’t start that career because you want to become rich, but because it’s what you like best. Plan, imagine where you will be ten or twenty years from now, and think about what you can do to make that a reality.

- Trust in yourself, in your instincts, and start sowing, knocking on doors, turning up for castings, interviews and competitions. And it’s not just for that job that you have to do it, but for your entire career — you are investing.

- Have a very clear idea who you are, don’t compare yourself with others. You can only be yourself.

- If you are creative, you have to be aware of that and get down to creating. To be an actor, to be free, you have to be creative, and to be creative you have to be ready to take risks. Imagine yourself in the greatest success, but prepare yourself for the greatest failure. I prefer to fail at what I love than to succeed at what I hate.

- Spending a while unemployed is not a failure, it is just a period in your career. The fact of a person being unemployed need not be negative, because people do not depend on their work to give them value.

Talent is the little spark that lights it all up, that sets the whole process under way. Talent is the consequence of knowing what one wants to do and not departing from that by even a millimetre. It is the sense of responsibility, an awareness of that one does. It is the struggle for quality and rigour. Having talent is being valiant, bold. It is being a clear and free intelligence. Having broad objectives. Planting a tree and imagining the consequences that doing so will have a thousand or two thousand years from now. Having talent is providing happiness for others. Those last are the words of Anton Chekhov. The Russian dramatist also said that people are given talent in order to increase what has been offered to them. 

When I am asked what we do to memorise such long texts, the answer is very simple: we work. In addition to talent, you have to have drive, until you achieve what you want, in order to be the ruler of your own destiny. Unfortunately, some young people are having a hard time. But there are solutions, and they must arrive. All of them involve not remaining still, having imagination. We need imaginative formulae, for we find ourselves in a new time that announces a new order, and that calls for a great deal of imagination if we are to handle it. However many doors may close, there are many windows opening, in new technologies, windows we can lean out of, stick out our heads and say “Hey, I’m here, look what I can do”.

When the performance ends, we go out to receive the applause of the audience. It is not an act of vanity, but rather one of responsibility, in order to receive the verdict of the audience. But be careful with applause: however much they may applaud you, nobody knows better than we do whether the applause that day was deserved. It is a matter of having a clear conscience, when you have done all you could and more. Then you can smile peacefully and applaud yourself.

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