Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being Bona Fide 8/15/09

The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.

Joan Baez
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Walk with me.
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Hurry and get you note book ready because....
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I never performed for ten thousand people, but I did perform for three thousand one day. When I made my second entrance I was met with an ovation. Being applauded and cheered by three thousand people is a formidable experience let me tell you. I had to wait to begin the second act because they were making such a racket. I could only stand there with my head slightly bowed and with a smile until they were finished.

In the parlance of performing arts there is something knows as "the arc." Whenever there is laughter or applause the performer listens carefully and when it begins to die down is when he goes ahead with the act. He never waits until it is completely done. In comedy that technique is essential,. When you start again they quiet down.

So there I was listening to this crowd, cheering and clapping, waiting for the arc, which seemed to take forever, knowing that they liked me and wanted me to do more for them. That type of experience is the award, the blue ribbon, the crown for having a job and doing it well.

On the other side of that door is the audition, the trial you have to endure, the test you have to pass to get the job. You walk into a room and there may two or three people sitting there but only one of them is going to make the decision about you. That person is not concerned about you, they may have 50 or more other actors who are like you, coming in to read for the same role. Somehow, in the 2 to 5 minutes that you have, you have to convince that person that you may be right for the role, so they will call you back to audition again. Performing for one person, who has your immediate future in his hands is scarier than stepping out in front of thouseands.

When my career picked up and I started getting more work it was because I decided that I wasn't going into an audition to get a job but to put on my show, to entertain people even if it was only one person. I pretended it was a crowd and gave it my all. I enjoyed myself. I was having a good time and directors saw it, knew it and hired me.

It didn't matter if my feet hurt, or if I was hungry, or in debt and desperate for a job. It didn't matter if it was a thousand people, a hundred people or just one, My life as a performer was meant to be enjoyed. And that's how I lived it.

DB - The Vagabond
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May the mosquitos turn their backs on you and fly away.
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5 comments:

Bonnie Bonsai said...

And you were meant for the life you lived and live because you know when and how to endure trials at the same time gracious with your past successes. And now, you are sitting back and happily recalling them. Heartfelt dedication and hard work paid off.

Beth said...

Some people are born entertainers, and I believe that's you.

I can't wrap my brain around those kinds of puzzles, especially on a Saturday morning. :)

Hugs, Beth

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Life is all about attitude, and your decision to perform the same for one or thousands was brilliant :o)

Dannelle said...

May the mosquitos turn their backs on you and fly away.

A daily dose of vitamin B-12 or multi-B works well for bugs.

Big Mark 243 said...

I like that you titled this entry 'Being Bona Fide'. I like that term, 'bona fide'.

I have fought in front of crowds like that ... not that many had come to see me. In fact, several times they came to see the other guy. But the electricity of the noise was what I was keyed on. It didn't matter if it was for me or not, as long as there was noise.

My 'arc' if you will, was different. It was the sudden burst of a prime Mike Tyson, where the crowd would be abuzz watching two big cats circle each other, then the sudden strike and swift and conclusive end.

That is one of the reasons I keep watching the Randall Bailey knockout of Fransico Figerora. I have had knock outs like that (have I been on that end of a count ..? I will never tell!). I know what the moment is like, and it is something that I can't say I have ever experience in anything else.

Loved Joan Baez quote too ... tres profound.