We, at the Susan Batson Studio, wish to pay tribute to the inspiring contribution the gifted actor Robin Williams made to the film industry. We also acknowledge that perhaps Williams’ death gives
us all much to examine.
In our process of acting we say that we have to create a walking talking human being who has among many things three primary elements: Need, Tragic Flaw, and Public Persona.
Robin Williams’ Public persona was that of an explosive wit which radiated genius. It was this Public Persona that we waited in gleeful anticipation to witness, and he never failed us. Very few of us thought to question what was under this Public Persona. Yes, we knew there were many other things to Robin Williams. He did prove it to us, as he exposed the dramatic actor to us, winning an Oscar. So we knew. And, beyond tabloid fodder, Robin Williams himself was very open about his Tragic Flaw of addiction. The only primary element of the character of Robin Williams that was not exposed was his Need.
The Need- the unfulfilled dynamic of our personality that drives us through life, which dictates our behavior- and is the very thing most of us hide from the world. To expose your need is to allow others to witness your vulnerability. So we all conveniently cover our Need with our Public Persona or we act out in the Tragic Flaw. Robin Williams’ Need was brilliantly hidden by his Public Persona and/or for years he struggled with addiction, acting out in the Tragic Flaw. What did Robin Williams need? Perhaps as we praised his genius we could have stopped to investigate the inner man, a man whose generosity is acknowledged on the same level as his genius.
For years we heard the axiom: “Never judge a book by its cover.” I’ll be damn if this is not the truth. What a far better world we would live in if we were brave enough to expose our needs, and share with tolerance the needs of others. It would be presumptuous to guess Robin Williams’ Need that developed by the time he was five years old. But, I will forever ponder what the Need hiding behind his fireworks Persona was? So, we also thank Robin Williams for his gift of making us conscious of the fact that there is more to a man than fame, and more for us to invest in and investigate in our humanity.