Sunday, May 10, 2009

Laws of Performing Arts

oh, the ways in which I can procrastinate:

#1) Thou must be comfortable with looking like an idiot.

#2) Thou must have a thick skin; you weak, parasitic fugly fatass.

#3) Thou must adhere to your own standards. It is impossible not to compare yourself with your peers, but try to do so without getting emotionally involved; by the way, also usually impossible. Are you satisfied with your progress over the past year when compared to your skill set one year ago? In what areas can you afford to remove some energy to give to others?
**note to myself: Can I afford to put more energy into reawakening my classical training? (yes, if I give up ½ of my Friends watching time) What keeps me from doing so? (Fear of sucking!!) What time is class tomorrow night? (7:30-9:00, ok?!)

#4) Thou must consider fear, pain, hardship, and triumph to be ordinary passing sensations. They are not the point, but their intensity makes them addictive. Especially for personalities attracted to the performing arts.

#5) Thou must not rely on the compliments of others as a scale of your ability. How many “polite” compliments have you given out? How many genuine compliments have you withheld? Enjoy and appreciate other’s appreciation, then see #3.

#6) Thou must never stop training. Thou must never stop training. Thou must never stop training.

#7) Thou must learn to rest and work in seasons. If you exhaust yourself too hard and too often, it’s all over real, real soon.

#8) Thou shalt not be a douche about accepting criticism. Especially when you are presenting a work in progress for the purposes of obtaining criticism. Never justify yourself when receiving a critique. If they didn't "get it," it's not their fault, it's yours. And, that's ok. You know how you hate it when people explain why their jokes are funny? The decent thing to do is listen and remember other’s notes (see #2), then make necessary changes when they are necessary (see #3).

#9) Thou shalt RESPECT THE TECHIES. Introduce yourself to the lighting designers, the sound guy, the stage manager (duh…NEVER piss off the stage manager), the property master, the hospitality people, the costumers, the merch guy…your job becomes either really uncomfortable or obsolete in their absence. Do not treat them as serfs there for your benefit alone. This is assholery, even if you are Diana Ross. I’ll bet even Diana Ross is lovely to the techies.***

Now I know these lists usually go from 10 to 1, for the purposes of climax, but #1 up there really needs to remain #1.

The #10 slot is open to suggestions. Please leave yours in the comments, it would make me really really happy.

***addendum...obviously, this comment is a compliment to the Goddess that is Diana Ross. Anyone who thinks otherwise is obviously living according to rule #1. I only wrote this as a testament to my regard for Diana Ross, who is one of my alltime favorite personalities.

God, please save me from your followers.

4 comments:

Bethany said...

10. Thou MUST reward yourself whenever you do something great.

Dimas said...

A corollary to #1: Thou must actually look like an idiot. It is insufficient to be fearless of it, one must actually seek it. I have in the past been guilty of not pushing the boundaries of my work. My most productive pieces have been those where I have been forced, by myself or others, into excess. From that position, it is much easier to prune your work into something that resembles art. It is a much riskier approach, but as a person I respect greatly once told me "Greatness courts failure." Surprisingly, I hadn't ever heard this phrase before she shared with me.

Your list is really thorough. The only thing I can think to add is already implicitly assumed: Thou must Do.

Art in general, and performance in particular, is rarely passive. It must be done. It requires action and it requires agency. If inaction in present in the performance, the performer must be making an active choice to perform or portray that inaction. Things may happen "just because" in real life, but they do not in art. Anything that isn't chosen, isn't signal, is noise.

Thumbs up to #9 and a big fucking ditto to Bethany's #10

Anonymous said...

YOU SUCK BIG TIME AND IT SEEMS TO ME YOU ARE THE IDIOT HERE....DIANA ROSS HAS EARNED RESPECT IN THIS BUSINESS...SO DO ME A FAVOR AND GIVE YOURSELF ONE MORE BIT OF ADVICE...BEFORE TALKING ABOUT OTHERS LOOK AT YOUR OWN BITCHINESS FIRST...SURE WE CAN FIND A BITCH SOMEWHERE IN YOU!

Dimas said...

Diana Ross, you may have posted anonymously, but I know it is you. I have found you out.

That being said, you have no reason to feel insecure or threatened because of this post. Not only does it not attack anyone, it actually praises you. You've had a wonderful career and are still the envy of many. If anything, you should feel proud.