Friday, April 25, 2008

Put Yourself Here

Here's what it looks like from our point of view. (Imagine yourself right in the middle of that spotlight!)

Talking about pre-performance rituals reminded me of one important element that sometimes gets missed: having a moment or two to just be on stage with the curtain out, before the house is open. It's good for the psychological state of a person before they will be out there in front of an audience. It all seems so conquerable, so friendly and fun, when the house lights are up, the work lights are on (that's the less-bright light we work under for non-tech rehearsals or class and warmup), and you can feel yourself centered in the real dimensions of the theater. You can also feel the sanctity and dormant (for the moment) magic of it. It's always so remarkable to me how very, very quiet the theater is in moments like these. It's just silent, and any little noise is muffled by the sheer space of the hall. You feel very tiny and insignificant in relation to the majesty and history of the theater, and all the performers that have come before you and will go on after you. And yet, you feel also your importance, in whatever small way, by adding to the ever-going-on lineage of all the performances that have happened within those walls.
It's pretty heady stuff to think about, but also comforting and inspiring. And as always, it is a marvel that it goes on at all, that all these people are taking part in this spectacle, as performers, producers, directors, crew, musicians, designers, coat checkers, ushers, or of course, as audience members.

1 comment:

  1. I have often wondered if the adrenaline rush that comes with pre-performance anxiety is in some way helpful to dancers. For other types of performers it really gets in the way: public speakers or singers find their voices are shakey, musicians find their hands are shakey. These can be devastating problems. They have to try to override the adrenaline (talk about using rituals and superstitions!). But if you are about to go out on stage and move, can you make use of that extra jolt of energy?