The 50th annual World Theatre Day, which is March 27, will see John Malkovich give the opening address which will make him the first American actor to do so. He will deliver this year’s message at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris on March 22.
Jean Cocteau delivered the first World Theatre Day message in 1962, and the list of past World Theatre Day messengers includes Judi Dench, Vaclav Havel, Peter Brook, Wole Soyinka, Eugene Ionesco, Ellen Stewart, Richard Burton, Luchino Visconti, Pablo Neruda, Laurence Olivier and Arthur Miller.
Here’s what Malkovich will say:
I’m honored to have been asked by the International Theatre Institute ITI at UNESCO to give this greeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of World Theatre Day. I will address my brief remarks to my fellow theatre workers, peers and comrades.
“May your work be compelling and original. May it be profound, touching, contemplative, and unique. May it help us to reflect on the question of what it means to be human, and may that reflection be blessed with heart, sincerity, candor, and grace. May you overcome adversity, censorship, poverty and nihilism, as many of you will most certainly be obliged to do.
“May you be blessed with the talent and rigor to teach us about the beating of the human heart in all its complexity, and the humility and curiosity to make it your life’s work. And may the best of you – for it will only be the best of you, and even then only in the rarest and briefest moments – succeed in framing that most basic of questions, ‘how do we live?’ Godspeed.”
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