I am a 3-dimensional, whole body performer. Some might argue that we’re actually 4-dimensional performers, but considering this is a blog, we’ll keep is simple and stick to a max of 3 dimensions.
I’m a stage performer. Most of my art and performance occurs in a space where my whole body is used and observed and where the playing space is all around me (remember the hula hoop, the dancing, or the rolling on the floor?). So, how does this translate to a video recording or a live-streamed concert?
That’s being a bit short. It can, if you have an incredible skilled camera crew and budget for slick video editing. If you have that, you probably aren’t reading my blog. If you do have that and you are reading my blog, then send me an email! I’d love to chat.
In this time of social distancing and shuttered theaters, we are attempting to roll with the punches and embrace the new performing opportunities that are arising. But it’s SO different.
After some presentations, a few board meetings, and a handful of live-streamed concerts, I couldn’t figure out why I was SO exhausted after each one. Like, unreasonably exhausted from a 4 1/2 minute performance.
What I’m starting to realize is that all of my performance training has only ever been in 3 dimensions. I use my whole body. I express with my whole body, and energy leaves my body from all sides. However, when the performance needs to fit into a Zoom window, I’m restricted to my head and upper torso, and the energy only moves up and forward to the tiny camera at the top of my laptop.
I feel unbalanced. My energy is unbalanced. I’m exhausted from the intense focus. And that’s OK.
Performing virtually is different than on stage. When theater/stage artists (I’m assuming you’ve had as much on-camera training as I have… none) are trying to adapt to these new platforms, we have to know that it is different. The practice of stage opera, for example, does not translate 1 for 1 to a digital performance, and we have to know this. We have to acknowledge this. It’s terribly difficult to navigate completely new technology (who learned about microphones in opera school??) while also figuring out completely new performance techniques (who learned about digital performance in opera school??).
Grant yourself grace – you are learning. But, know that they are different and do the work. That’s how we’ll all survive and continue to make art.