22 November, 2006

turkey for me, turkey for you..let's eat turkey in my big brown shoe

This post is not about turkey, but the Adam Sandler song from way back does come to mind since it's seasonally appropriate.

This post is about relaxation. "Deep deep relaxation" (Zoolander).
And energy.
And performance.

In my reading about the Eastern cultural and mystical traditions in preparation for Lakme, I have also searching for ways to find freedom in--everything. The voice, the acting, the subconscious stress and pressure and nervousness and anxiety that I may feel before going onstage, and sometimes even while onstage.

The short of the story is, I do not FEEL/GET nervous. Ever. Consciously.
But my body (larynx) and subconscious think/react otherwise. And that, and all of its manifestations whether onstage or off, I want to deal with and think about.
So while my present mind is completely clear and can be focusing on the excitement of a role, getting into character, being in character onstage, delivering a performance... sometimes this unconscious nervousness or anxiety (and I don't know what it's about yet) affects me dramatically or vocally, or I should say- interrupts what I'm trying to do dramatically and vocally and starts to mess with my head.

I've been reading, among other things, "The Book of Secrets" by D. Chopra.
Yes, it's new age-y, but it also seems a bit sacred in terms of the personal experiences he relates growing up in his culture and religion.

In speaking about spiritual awareness he has a few pointers which I've meditated on for a few nights now:
Follow the flow of awareness
Don't resist what's happening inside
Open yourself to the unknown
Don't censor or deny what you feel
Reach beyond yourself
Be genuine, speak your truth
Let the center be your home

All of these, although meant to achieve a spiritual height, I can relate to in terms of freedom on stage during a performance. Vocal freedom, dramatic concentration, and letting the art/music/drama happen.

One passage about energy in particular struck me as interesting, because as singers we always talk about energy. How much can you give in a performance? Can you do it again the next day? do you have the energy to give in this? Do you run out of energy/breath/drama? etc.

So here is a little mad-lib, in which HIS word was Love/Heart, and MY word will be (Sing (or commit, or give, or something to that effect)/Throat:

People who are afraid to ____, wind up constricting _____'s expression.
They feel tight in the _______ rather than expanded. Words stick in their throat. Tightness develops fear of expansion.

"We talk about having limited energy, but that is if you believe that energy is limited.
If you have ever committed yourself professionally to anything, you've found the more energy you devote to it, the more you have. Passion replenishes itself.
What drains energy is the act of holding back. The more you conserve energy the more narrow become the channels through which it can flow."

Yes- this is exactly it. You can't keep thinking about how it's going, whether it's going, whether you'll have enough energy/voice for the end. You give all of yourself from the start and the passion continues because you ARE the energy. You are not making it, it is you.

Now, of course, these are things that I knew already. But these words eloquently summed up feelings that I think I'm not alone in- in terms of singing, career, stagework, development of character, live performance, anxiety, nerves, debuts, the business, technique, passion, drama, putting yourself out there, telling a story, and everything that we do, and everything that can get in the way of what we do.

Happy turkey day.

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