sunnuntai 14. lokakuuta 2012

Day 23: What is a premiere?


The opening night of a play has always been considered a “big deal”, and in a way it is: what the crew has been working on is finally open for anyone to see (most often anyone with enough money, though). A play as an experience may offer insights and new ideas and life-changing realizations, as it is an art form that explores humanity not only in motion (such as dance) or sound (such as music) or words (such as literature and poetry), but combining all of this and re-creating the experience of lived life for the audience to watch without being a part of it. By the opening night what the crew has been processing has been crystallized into something that is a whole, an entire message or a point of view the purpose of which is to be shared and discussed. From the opening night onwards the discussion will bloom, an influence may occur, the ripples will spread. If not for the opening night, there would be no performances, there would be no sharing, there would be no impact.

For the actors it is usually nerve-wrecking. There's doubt of whether the performance is ready yet, is it good at all, does it convey what we want to say, are the actors doing a good job, will they be bashed or praised or worse: ignored. The opening night is the first night for actual audience who have paid to see the performance, and the crew has to succeed in order for anyone to come see the play after that. It all comes down to a fear of judgement: will they judge me? And ultimately – I judge myself.

Today we had a premiere for the anorexia play we have been rehearsing since June, and I realized that I had no reasons to be nervous. I realized I have always created the nervousness myself, that it is not an essential part of the experience of joy, even though being nauseously nervous does make the energy high afterwards seem greater. I noticed the thought patterns leading me towards nervousness and simply stopped them. I realized the paying audience doesn't make the situation “more” than our rehearsals with a small group of rehearsal audience. Neither is “more” or “less”, they're simply different. Acting is different with more people and with strange people, yes, but it's not necessarily “better” in any way. The performance is always at its core interaction with the audience, even if we're not doing interactive theatre per se, but that's why the situation is always new, no matter who we perform to, as it's always about people facing people.

After I had realized this I didn't experience the nervousness in ways I have experienced before, even though it was still there on some level, but it was a lot smaller and less strangling. I was able to breathe through my fear of failure and focus on the acting itself.

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