Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Conversation with the audience"

I'm reading a book on performing. At least I pick it up now and again and read a bit. I'm more or a fiction guy generally.

There is a concept that broken down all you are doing onstage is being in a conversation with the audience. This is weather you are a musician, dancer or clown.

I've been thinking a lot about this since I read this a couple of weeks ago. For instance, last night, I saw a magic variety show. After the main show the great swing band Lee Press On and The Nails performed. During the first and second crazy song, the acrobat that had been on stage was off stage right putting her stuff into bags, her boyfriend was going back and forth taking stuff to the car (I assume).

At one point, she stood up and crossed in front of the band to the other side.

So, here's the conversation. "I don't care about any of you" She had a very nice act but the show was not over and there were 30 plus people that were there having a great time watching and dancing.

Last week, I watched a performance my son was in. This one is a lot more forgivable. My son Dusty was in rock camp and each group of kids played a small concert, 4 or 5 rock songs arranged by a teacher.

One group covered the Star Spangled Banner version by Jimmy Hendrix. The guitar player put a little flag in the head of the guitar. They were just sticking up during the song. In the middle of the second song, he noticed the flag threw it to the side. It was pretty shocking to me. The flag is one powerful symbol, tossing it shocked me and made me want to quietly sneak on stage and take it off the floor.

These are conversations. The acrobat was a bit dense in my opinion. I don't understand why she couldn't push her stuff off stage to dismantle it. Or carry it to the side of the audience and make an awkward joke, sorry sorry...

The kid, has no stage experience and simply wasn't thinking, that was no big deal, I understand.

But it shows, on stage we are with you and following what you do. This conversation is very powerful. If the acrobat had thought there was a conversation going on, she would have paid attention to the other performers and the audience. The kid throwing the flag would have thought, everything I'm doing says, hey how are you? to the audience.

It's a concept I'm noticing a lot right now.

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