Can someone arrange for Seth Godin to appear in an opera somewhere? Surely one of my US readers has a connection that could make this happen?
Going over and over the same material in case something unexpected happens…well, it kills the adventure, right? The discovery of the new and the fresh get squashed under the weight of all that droning preparation.
Evidently I need to put Seth through his paces…
How about a five-act operatic monsterpiece with flying sets, huge costumes that can knock a co-star over with a mere swish, a shuffling mass of chorus singers, gothic stage hands, a dark sweaty pit full of slightly tipsy brass and fiddle players and the occasionally mesmeric conductor. (That is an exaggeration, but there nestles a tiny grain of truth somewhere within. Go hunting.)
Because rehearsing isn’t just desirable, it’s a brutal necessity in the stage game. In fact I spend more time rehearsing that I ever do actually on stage performing. (And that doesn’t even begin to count the hours I chew simply musing over a piece.)
In fact, rehearsing for me is the best part.
As a performer, rehearsing is where the exploration takes place. I slip under the skin of a new character, try it on, clumsily play with all the moving parts until I find a grace and an empathy.
There is also the kind of technical rehearsal that must happen if you want to avoid being crushed by changing scenery. Or where it’s important that you stand in a specific place for the spotlight.
And you only achieve the musical coordination and brilliant comedy of say, the end of Act 2 of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” by rehearsing the hell out of it.
Which is where I think Seth misses the point.
Rehearsing is not for cowards. Rehearsing something – going over and over until it’s in your bones and your blood and you could do it in your sleep – is pretty damn essential.
The real terror lies in the execution.
You rehearse to put yourself in a position of trust. And trust is the leap that you have to take to make all that rehearsing worthwhile.
When that heavy red curtain finally rises, I’m not thinking about where I have to stand, or when I have to look at the maestro – but these actions – which I have rehearsed – become part of the flow of who I am on stage. I’m fully immersed in my character and the story, and it’s the flow that matters, not the technique behind it.
I trust that I have done enough, and my discoveries in performance become the magic that plays along the bones of my rehearsal process. This preparation gives strength and support to the flow.
A brilliant and intelligent musician will not show you the technique – the hours and hours and hours and hours of solitary confinement in a tiny practice room with fingertips so worn they are calloused and peeling – but when they get the chance, they will show you the heart, and the sob, and the channelling of something so profound it is truly ineffable.
If you use endless rehearsing as an excuse for procrastinating and avoiding “shipping’ your work, this is avoiding the trust as well.
Make the leap. Trust that you know enough. That you’ve done the work.
Making the leap will let you know if the rehearsing you put in was enough. It will show you how to rehearse better, to prepare more fully so that the next time you leap, it will be higher, faster, stronger, more fervent and less fearful.
Rehearsing is for visionaries. But leaping is for the truly courageous.