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“Anything can happen. I’m proof of it.”

Part three of a three-part series on Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham

By Alyssa Mulligan

shylock2Since his acting resume is over 200 roles long, Emerson College students and faculty were eager to ask Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham about his craft. Abraham’s main advice?  Believe in yourself.

The 71-year-old actor recounted his days growing up near the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas. He admitted to gang activity in his teenage years, as well as jail time. But despite his tumultuous adolescence, Abraham did not let the past stop him from accomplishing his career goals. “Anything can happen,” Abraham voiced. “I’m proof of it.”

In addition to that inspirational story, Abraham was chock-full of other creative advice. He believes that actors are purveyors of the truth and are of utmost importance in our society. “Where do you go for the truth?” Abraham asked. His answer is not the television, news reports, or politicians…but in art. And as far as theatre skills go, he whole-heartedly supports borrowing techniques from past great artists. “Why not compare ourselves to great artists? Why not use great artistic techniques?” he mused. “Why call yourself an artist if you’re not searching for greatness?”

Among other tips, Abraham suggests “know thyself,” “surprise yourself,” and respect the work, but do not “take yourself too seriously.”

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