One thing that is misunderstood about performers is that we do this because we need to show off. Because we are full of ourselves, we think we’re all that, we’re too big for our britches, we’re extroverts, we’re superficial, and all the other things m̶y̶ ̶m̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶s̶a̶i̶d̶ that people often say.
And perhaps there are performers like that. (Who am I kidding? There are performers like that and I’ve written about them frequently, most recently in What is a Plagiarized Performance?) But the performers that I pay attention to are the ones who show up.
As I mentioned recently, I read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, and found it quite inspiring. One line that resonated with me was:
Good art originates not from the desire to show off but from the desire to show yourself.
I feel that a better way to put this is that good art originates from the desire to show up.
So what’s the difference?
To show up as a performer means that you have committed to telling the truth:
as you interpret it
as the composer/librettist/playwright intended it
in a way that motivates others to show up as well, whether they are in the audience or collaborating with you
You are there to a shine a light on something. Perhaps you’re shining a light on your own personal emotions, values, opinions, or perhaps it’s what someone else has to say, and you feel that it’s something that needs to be seen and heard. And that’s why you’re doing it. Not to call attention to yourself.
Tonight’s masterclass with James Valcq is on Finding the Emotional Truth in Golden Age Theater Songs. These songs are all at least 60 years old. But even the fluffiest, most old-fashioned song needs to come from a place of truth in order for it to be relevant. And that’s what will be happening tonight. (I’ll be writing about my takeaways from the B2W series in next Tuesday’s blogpost.)
My challenge to you is to –
Decide whether you are a performer who shows up –
or one who shows off.
If you want to find out what the difference is in your own performing, I have room for 4 more singers who want to become curiously strong performers. Find out how to work with me so that you can show up at your next audition, rehearsal, or performance.
Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass.
As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination.
Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.
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