Assignment: Answer these questions:
- What’s a GENUINE RISK for you, on stage?
- What’s a GENUINE RISK for you, in life?
- What GENUINE RISK have you witnessed other artists do onstage?
GENUINE RISK is the name of my favorite Kentucky Derby winner. She died August 18th, 2008, and a few weeks later I came to Louisville and became aware of her. I taught solo performance at The Actors Theatre of Louisville Apprentice Program. Outside the theater is a statue to Genuine Risk. I’d walk to work and pet the statue. I went to Churchill Downs to see the horses run early mornings. I watched videos of the old derbies. I watched Genuine Risk’s run. Genuine Risk won the Kentucky Derby in 1980, one of the few fillies to do so, ever. She was grand, a chestnut mare with a bold white stripe down the center of her nose. A racing stripe. One day in class, I was trying to make a point about what was really important about stage work. I asked the Apprentices if they knew the name of the horse whose statue was right downstairs. No one knew. So they all ran out of class and raced to the statue and came back with the answer: Genuine Risk. Her name became our call to action. The core of our work: to identify what would be a genuine risk for each of us as artists, to name it, and take it. Year after year I’ve kept instilling this message to the actors: Take a Genuine Risk. One year I received a photo from three Apprentices, Katie, Zoe, and Chris, who tattooed on their feet a note I had handwritten them that read: GENUINE RISK