Performing live is such an interesting experience because each performance is different from the last. That is what makes it art! I’m going to share with you one of the most life-changing views on performing I ever received. This view was more specific to acting, but I believe it pertains to performing of any kind.
This is a journal excerpt from August 13, 2013. I wrote this on the plane ride home from my month long stay in New York. I had participated in a Summer program at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I walked out of those studios, after four weeks, a completely different person.
My movement teacher, David Skeist, had a saying that he used for every occasion. “It’s perfect because it happened.” He said that to us as we walked around a studio on the 3rd floor of a New York building. “Be interested in the space around you, the relationship between your body and the people and things around you.” He told us once that every character you play is already inside of you. You have thousands of traits inside of you so there is no need to “act” like someone, you already are that person. You just have to accentuate the parts of yourself that make up this person. I don’t think I ever met anyone who saw more potential in every cell of a person. Somehow, he helped a group of seventeen strangers from all over the world come together in four short weeks and have us all believing that “it’s perfect because it happened,” by the end of our time together.
Every second counts, and every performance is completely unique. It will never happen in the exact same way. The mistakes you make on stage can be the most fascinating things to watch.
Even if you don’t make big mistakes, the air will never be exactly the same. The person who coughed in the seventh row on your line will never do that again. (or at least not in the same way). Anything can happen because we are always in a dance with the people, the things, the negative space around us. It is a constant dance, and it will never be exactly the same. Isn’t there something really beautiful about that?
What a powerful way to look at performing! Thinking about it like that takes all the stress and the I-need-to-be-perfect-all-the-time anxiety out of it! It doesn’t mean stop striving to improve, or don’t try your best when you perform. It simply means that if you mess up, you get to move on. As a performer, and a person who has a tendency to be a perfectionist, this concept of “it’s perfect because it happened,” is so freeing!
Every November, we are reminded to be extra thankful for the people in our lives and for the things we have been blessed with. As this holiday is rapidly approaching I just wanted to thank all the people who have supported me and my music. You will never really know how much it means to me. Whether I know you personally, or we are strangers, your kind words and support are so appreciated. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart! You guys are what I do this for! Happy Thanksgiving!