When I moved to New York to attend Juilliard, I was straight out of a suburban high school and a Grade A Introvert. My dynamic new classmates seemed to be inexhaustible and blindingly confident social animals. “There’s been a terrible mistake,” I thought with growing terror.
I was brooding alone in the cafeteria during Orientation Week when John Stix—legendary director and acting teacher, 75 years old, small, white-haired, nicknamed Yoda—shuffled over with his lunch tray and sat next to me. He asked me kindly how I was. It spilled out: Terrible Mistake. Horribly Shy. Panicking. Must Go Home.
John chewed. Then, fixing me with his gaze, he said, “I think you chose acting as your salvation.”
John died in 2004. He is buried a few minutes from where I live.
I visit him often and tell him about the plays I’m doing.