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.