On March 22, 2012, John Malkovich delivered his international message at UNESCO in Paris at a gala event that included readings of play excerpts with Malkovich and other theatre artists.
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.
- John Malkovich
John Malkovich is a founding member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company and has worked on 33 productions with the company since 1976. In 1983 he won an Obie for his performance in Sam Shepard’s True West. The following year, he appeared with Dustin Hoffman in the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, which earned him an Emmy in 1985 when it was made into a television film. He rose to fame in cinema with his interpretation of Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons by Stephen Frears, alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close. After this role he acted in more than 70 movies internationally, receiving Academy Award nominations for Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire and playing a version of himself in the films Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. He has periodically returned to Chicago to act and direct, and was recently seen in the international tour of The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer. This production traveled to nearly 20 countries and received its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2011. He also directed his third theatre production in Paris, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, at the Théâtre de l’Atelier following the success of Hysteria (2002) and The Good Canary (2007) for which he was awarded the Molière Award for best staging.
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