Come to the Edge

When I moved to New York, I had 2 immediate goals.

1. Find an apartment.

2. Study with Robert X. Modica.

I did both. Mr. Modica became more than a teacher to me, he became a hero. He passed away recently at the age of 83.

Mr. Modica was the type of acting teacher that pushes you to the edges of your humanity to find your truth. And he was full of compassion as he pushed you. Three nights a week for 2 years I sat in his smoke filled studio in Carnegie Hall –  often until 3 in the morning – not learning how to act, but learning how to live. I don’t even know how to put into words how deeply he’s shaped my life.

So I’m not even going to try. Rather, I want to share some words of wisdom he left with me. I started writing down Modicaisms at some point in my studying with him – favorite quotes he repeated over and over. Some of these were also on posters around his cherished room. As he used to say, “When in doubt, repeat or shut up.” So here goes…

“You have to build that muscle, dolly. You only build it by doing it.”809

“There are three things in life that should never be broken: toys, hearts and promises.”

“Take everything personally because it’s happening to you.”

“Don’t act, just talk and listen.”

“You can’t give up listening just because it gets hot in the kitchen.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Come to the edge
We might fall.
Come to the edge,
It’s too high.
And they came.
And he pushed.
And they flew.

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