Jacks of all Trades

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I was riding a train back from Munich recently and a headline on a free magazine caught my eye. “Einer für Alles”, proclaimed the headline over a picture of youngish German theatre director Florian David Fitz, “Er schauspielert, schreibt, und fuhrt Regie”. (He acts, writes, and directs)

It’s clearly a broad portfolio for one of our cousins in the Arts, and one that few manage to replicate. Yet acting, writing, and directing are essentially different facets of the same process – the writer constructs a part, the performer brings it to life, and the director guides and oversees the process. Shifting between these roles, while undeniably challenging, is primarily a shift in perspective and responsibility (are you taking charge of one character, or many?).

Conversely, a scientist must be an able experimentalist, a good writer, a good presenter, a good teacher, and a good leader and mentor. And these activities have far less in common than writing/acting/directing for theatre – the scientific mindset must be channelled into a wide range of academic conduits, few of which come naturally. Continue reading