“If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it [..]When it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you.”
I can vividly remember the first time I heard these words on TV.
Choosing one of Charles Bukowski’s popular poems as a back drop to a whiskey commercial has transformed it from an everyday brand advertisement to a mind stimulating, emotion stirring, wake up call.
But it doesn’t end there.
As part of its new campaign, Dewar’s Lebanon merged these well-crafted words, with beautifully shot imagery and an inspiring line-up of young well-known Lebanese figures to motivate people to “Live True”.
Blog of the Boss got the chance to sit down and interview writer, director and activist Lucien Bourjeily- an inspiring, and sometimes controversial, character- to learn more about his passion, his fears, and how he believes we can all re-write our nation’s story.
Lucien, when and how did you discover your own passion?
It all started when I was really young; as a child I used to enjoy drawing and writing, but never thought I would actually work in theater or acting. One day, a kid in class threw a joke about my messy curly hair saying “you look like one of those actors”. That thought stuck around in my mind for some time, especially that I had been always searching for a medium to express myself.
This eagerness started becoming more and more concrete as I began creating adaptations of famous plays which eventually lead to my first very own self written play, without any training and through acquired knowledge,. However, even at that point, this was a side thing, a hobby I pursued after work hours.
The last leap of faith came when I woke up one day and realized that despite my talent in marketing and advertising, I was unhappy. So I wondered why can’t I fully live from something I love? Something that I do not even call “work”, something I can call my passion.
What is your biggest fear in life? How do you face it to live true?
In a few words, it’s doing something I do not enjoy doing. The idea of having to give up everything I love, my dreams and inspiration to lead a routine life.
Life is in the small day to day actions you do full-heartedly. It’s also all about reaching out and finding yourself, discovering who you are, and the biggest fear is leading a life without fully experiencing that answer.
In the TV commercial, you ask people to imagine having 6 months left to live. If you had 6 months left to live, what cause or idea would you invest every single word, thought and action into?
The cause that is worthy of every single breath we take has got to be fighting corruption; and here I do not mean only political corruption, it’s the more lethal corruption of society.
It’s a constant fight with the numerous flaws that pollute our minds as individuals, flaws that we can only defeat inside out. That can happen once we want, truly want to respect the street red light, to avoid bribery, to improve our habits and mentality in every aspect.
It’s not really about fighting the political situation itself; cleaning this mental pollution inside each and every one of us is what will ultimately get the corrupt system to collapse.
With all that is being done on Social Media and with on the ground activism for different social causes, do you believe that change is happening?
Change is definitely happening. It might be slow or not as big as we wish it to be in some cases, but it is definitely there.
It is enough to have one person in a remote village to voice an idea for change to take place. Putting the idea out there, circulating it from one mind to the other gives it life and takes you one step further towards making a difference.
These ideas are triggers and the generations witnessing them will definitely create a better society.
If you were handed a pen to re-write the story of Lebanon, what part of the script would you change first?
If I could have a pen I would write “accountability” and “justice” into every chapter of the Lebanese history.
We have been accustomed to the lack of any accountability throughout all incidents in our common past and when you lose that, justice is gone. This has definitely played a huge role in the assassination of our national pride.
My new script would interfere every time our community overlooked justice and every time we stayed silent.
Imagine you’re on stage with the chance to invite the Lebanese people to join you and re-write our nation’s story together. The mic is yours, what would you say?
I would ask them to stand up, walk to the stage, and use that space to talk about everything they are scared to say out loud in society.
Once you feel the security of the theater, you start talking through a new character and lose all sense of self-censorship. This character-which is not you- can freely speak out whatever is weighing on its mind.
Acting is all about dropping the mask, becoming vulnerable, denuding your emotions. These are things we desperately need in our community, a community plagued by fear of others’ reactions and opinions. Putting all our fears out there on stage will give us a sense of clarity and awareness.
We are a people that enjoys the moment, a people that deserves happiness.
Once you cross this enlightenment stage, it will be almost impossible to lose this vision again. This vision is what will teach us how to live true.
Video: You can watch the full Dewar’s TVC on this link
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