I work with a lot of theater performance students and they never cease to amaze me with their stories. Through their dance lessons, movement classes, and technique workshops, they moan and agonize over auditions, call backs, and rejection.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I'm a good 6-7 years older than most of them and I'm often the one mentoring, guiding, and molding them as they prepare to leave college. Every once in a while, though, they say something to me that knocks me off my rocker. I was rocked today.
Theater is about absolute understanding of environment. The balance of actor, timing, and music is critical for a flawless performance. Actor and actor must be in sync. Musician and conductor must be in rhythm. Absolute understanding, nothing less.
One of my favorite students ran into my office today and dramatically collapsed on my couch. Before I even asked what was on her mind, she sat up and shared her wisdom, "Do you know what my acting coach told me today? She said, 'Listening means having your life changed.'"
She went on, "It's true, don't you see? When you listen, I mean really listen, you are changing yourself in response to what another person is offering you. Listening is really about opening your mind to change and the difference of another human being. Do you know how many times I haven't listened? I spend so much time in theater pretending that I am listening, all the while, I am just waiting for MY cue for MY line, MY turn, MY minute to talk. I realized today: I don't listen. " She paused.
I paused with her.
Listening means having your life changed.
Are there theater lessons available for feminists?