I’ve been thinking (okay, obsessing) about the difference between talking a good game, and showing us one.
You see, while you may think that opera is all about singing, there’s this thing where you have to act convincingly at the same time. In a foreign language. Natch.
To do this requires broad and deep preparation. The kind of preparation that can be very overwhelming.
There’s the translating to do, first. The part that is yours, as well as anyone else on stage that you have to react and interact with. (Try doing that for a 3 hours five act monster-piece.)
There’s the Learning Of The Notes. A beast in and of itself, especially those composers that thought it might be fine to go all chromatic and atonal on your arse. Or they throw in a bunch of notes for you to sing really fast and really high just to show off.
The actual part about the singing beautifully takes time too. The notes need to marinate in your body before they can emerge sounding gorgeous.
So a singer might start with the notes and the music, because they are the parts that are a given. There’s no work to do here except memorize the dots and scribbles on the page.
Once this is done, they can tell you vaguely what the piece is about, what they do in this scene or that and by then they’re generally pretty knackered. Most just dump the score and head down to the pub. Which is where they totally miss the point.
You cannot tell a meaningful story without communicating an intention.
This is where we get “dead eye” syndrome. Or “park and bark”. Sounds nice, but doesn’t move us.
So first, the intention.
To really dig into the motivations of a character, you need to know why you are there. You need to make choices. Why am I in love with this person? Why do I want revenge for my father’s murder? Why am I such a bitch in this scene?
This requires probing and research. Asking questions constantly and then actually answering them with something very, very specific.
So. I’m not just singing about a tree. I’m singing about a tree that I planted for the unborn baby I lost 10 years ago. Or the tree where I first had an awkward fumble with my boyfriend in the summer shade. See how that changes the motivation?
You go from the general to the real nitty-gritty. You find the difference between pleased and thrilled, attracted and obsessed, apathetic and disgusted.
You are giving yourself a clear, specific and colourful reason ‘why’.
But – and this is where the magic lies – having all the motivations in the world won’t help you if you are not actually communicating them to your audience.
You have to get those choices out of your head.
Show us. Please.
You can know everything there is to know about pole dancing but how will I ever know if you don’t show me? Show me how it works, how you do it, why it matters.
The power in your experience and your learning lies in your ability to demonstrate it tangibly. We need to see, hear, feel the passion you have for what you do and who you are, in a tangible way that speaks more than words.
Yes, you can think about the work you put in every day. The dreaming and the decisions. Think about the choices you make in your business, in your creative life. Do the inner work, yes yes yes.
Get into the feeling place of this choice. Get specific about how it feels – as specific as you can.
Then show what this feeling looks like!
Turn it into something that speaks the truth of how you feel. Make your choices and opinions come to life in a post, a picture, a product, an ebook. Resolve to show us the choices you have made. Something we can watch, touch and hold, smell or hear. Do something that leaves no doubt as to the way you feel.
Get it out of your head and into the world.