This is will be an unusual post in that I am I being an introspective performer, rather than the critic or commentator today. Maybe it is because I am performing again that I remember these feelings. This is a love story of sorts, of identifying and defining who one is.
Wilmington’s love of the performing arts is well-known, but does anyone really think of what motivates dedicated Wilmington performer.
It’s a rare love of the art that lasts a lifetime of rejections, breakups, emotional ups and downs, and even personality conflicts. Still, to be as working in Wilmington or anywhere really, the performer is happy. The venue could be more impressive, but the love of the art is not affected by the venue. New York’s Broadway or London’s West End would be wonderful but the degree of happiness for being able to perform would still be the same.
I am fascinated by performers because they have a love of art that involves all the people in the world, all the cultures, all the history, all the drama and music. All these elements are necessary to define who they are and wish to be forever. Does a performer ever stop being a performer—even when they are too old to perform? I think, never in their heart. They do other things—related artistic things; and they dream. Dreams are not far removed from theatre. And, the love of art remains.
It is the expressing the love of art that is so intrinsically human and so connected to the individual. There perpetually exists the proud urge to share, an urge so strong that he or she must do it now and often. This should be cause of wonder, not of worry because this is a performer.
The following is a portrait of young performer. By young, I mean younger than 20, but I’m not sure. It was posted by a Facebook friend and I wanted to respond to the sentiments.
- I live for theatre and I need theatre to live.
- I have yet to encounter a problem that a musical couldn’t solve.
- I fully believe that my expectations of men are so high because of musicals. I’ve grown up with the leading man having to woo his love and I’m afraid no man will ever live up to that.
- The majority of my friends are between 5-20 years older than me.
- I’m judged all the time because of this but I don’t care at all.
- I haven’t really gotten to see my family since last September and I miss hanging out with Miss L.
- Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without theatre in it and then I shed a tear and change the subject.
There were actually ten things my friend listed to describe herself. I left out the first three things she said that were personal and had nothing to do with theatre, but the rest is genuine. I know because I found myself feeling the same way—except the age thing and I felt that when I was her age. I still feel a difference exists between me and the “normal” folks, and I am always glad to welcome another genuine one of “me” to the club.
- Do I live for theatre? Theatre makes me feel alive. Actors are often said to pretend to create a make-believe world, but the opposite is true. The characters live inside them, so at the moment that’s twice as much life. At least. There is no other way of describing it.
- Have I found a problem a musical or the theatre couldn’t solve? Better make that just connected to a show, musical or not. Sometimes just thinking about theatre makes the world better…
- What expectations do I have of women? In a relationship? Romantic, of course. Unreal at times. That no one ever lives up to an ideal was hard to accept. It was that way for me for quite awhile. Still, it took me a long time to see the reality in myself and people in general, and not to expect to see the simplicity of character created on stage.
- To be a romantic in the real world today is to be perceived as naïve. People and life are more complicated. Theatre can only touch the surface. I look at life as a model for theatre and art—those things being easier for me to read.
- I miss spending time my family when I am away and want them to understand the affinity I feel with the theatre. But like my friend above, I miss “hanging out” with my theatre family because it is with them I am truly appreciated to view the world in the same way—subject matter for my canvas or stage.
I am forever visiting and observing the real world in preparation for the film or theatrical version—a simpler, more concrete and accessible rendition. What would my life be without theatre in it? A little empty perhaps. This is the romantic “me.”
There is a pragmatic “me” who wrote this article with the help of an inspired performer. She forced it out of me. Now, I’m changing the subject. Life as a performer is hard. It requires dedication. And love.
Here are couple of related articles: http://glowbass.com/performing-arts-in-wilmington/a-tribute-to-the-freedom-to-soar-to-heights-never-before-imagined and http://glowbass.com/performing-arts-in-wilmington/theatre-as-art.