Meryl Streep at Barnard College (Video)

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Meryl Streep at Barnard College in 2010

Excerpts:

  • If you are all really, really lucky, and if you continue to work super hard, and you remember your thank you notes and everybody’s name; and you follow through on every task that’s asked of you and also somehow anticipate problems before they even arise and you somehow sidestep disaster and score big.
  • One is obliged to do great deal of kissing in my line of work. Air kissing, ass-kissing, kissing up and of course actual kissing, much like hookers, actors have to do it with people we may not like or even know. We may have to do it with friends, which, believe it or not is particularly awkward, for people of my generation, it’s awkward.
  • Women are better at acting than men. Why? Because we have to be, if successfully convincing someone bigger than you are of something he doesn’t know is a survival skill, this is how women have survived through the millennia. Pretending is not just play. Pretending is imagined possibility. Pretending or acting is a very valuable life skill and we all do it.
  • Empathy is at the heart of the actor’s art. And in high school, another form of acting took hold of me. 
  • It’s much easier for the female audience because we were all grown up brought up identifying with male characters from Shakespeare to Salinger.  We have less trouble following Hamlet’s dilemma viscerally or Romeo’s or Tybalt or Huck Finn or Peter Pan – I remember holding that sword up to Hook – I felt like him. But it is much much much harder for heterosexual boys to identify with Juliet or Desdemona, Wendy in Peter Pan or Joe in Little Women or the Little Mermaid or Pocohontas.
  • Now I’m 60, I have four adult children who are all facing the same challenges you are.  I’m more sanguine about all the things that I still don’t know and I’m still curious about.
  • Being a celebrity has taught me to hide but being an actor has opened my soul.
  • You know you don’t have to be famous.  You just have to make your mother and father proud of you and you already have.    

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