“An actor is a sculptor who carves in snow – Lawrence Barrett”

Sometimes when I look around for blog posts, I start with quotes. Something interesting, something efficient that makes a statement I can either agree or disagree with. Something I can tangent off on.

Today I came across the above quote. First off? Who is Lawrence Barrett?

  • Born in 1838 and died in 1891
  • An American actor in the 19th century
  • Captain in the civil war
  • Acted with Edwin Booth in many Shakespeare adaptations.

How fascinating! Love that. It warps my brain to think about someone two hundred years ago making a living as an actor. And especially when it seems (in my subjective completely un-scientific lack of historical knowledge view) that the 20th century is when actors started to analyse the craft of acting. Which brings us back to the quote. What does it mean to think of an actor as a sculptor of snow? That it’s a temporary craft? That it’s about moments and there’s nothing permanent? Is it a positive or negative comment?

Truthfully, I do not know what I think. Which is why I chose it. Questions are always more interesting than easy answers. The quote strikes me as such an interesting image, a not entirely positive thought on acting, and again so fascinating that it’s from someone who acted hundreds of years ago.

What do you think?

About the author

Lindsay Price

1 Comment

  • My bestest guess is that it has something to do with the impermanence of the craft, that the art that is created disappears immediately. If so, Barrett clearly lived in a very warm climate because I think of snow sculptures as things that last way too long.

    A better analogy might be one who builds sand castles. Or maybe even those people who do shows with big soap bubbles.