What is a performance?

I had a discussion with a good friend of mine not long ago about what a performance is – and why we are drawn to it – both as performers and as members of an audience.  She told me that it was a way for us to let out all of the pent up love and emotion that we have inside and maybe, just maybe, have it reflected back, even if just a little bit.  It was an awkward moment then, as she said that.  I didn’t know what to take it for; how does a conversation about prepping for a performance turn to such as flighty thing as love?  She didn’t give me any more explanation, the moment simply past and we continued singing whatever it was we were singing. 

But it has stuck with me, that notion of a performance being an expression of love. 

Kinda weird, I know, and more than a little sappy sounding, but it doesn’t have to be.  Think of it – ancient greek has more than fifteen words for the idea of love; we only have one.  Aren’t we missing something in that concept?  Why should we use the same word to describe how we feel about our family, and something like a job, or a song, or whatever. 

Maybe if we stopped for a minute, we’d see more of the ways that expressions of something we can’t quite define are affecting us, and recognize them for what they are.


Anyways, it’s the sneak preview tonight for this show, and I can’t wait to feel the tension in the air, the moment before the sounds of music reach out across the void… 

Yea, I just can’t wait to get back on stage again. 

I love it.


more later – joel

What it means to be on stage

I have this wierd thing about the stage – I have to be on it.  If I’m not there, if I’m watching from audience or even the wings, I get all shaky and nervous.  It’s only the thought of being out there again that makes the waiting bearable.

And when the moment comes, when the lights come up, and audience takes a breath…  I’m home.

Do I do it for the applause?  For the rush of adrenaline?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think so.  It’s certainly nice to be appreciated, and I admit to being wired after a performance so much that I can’t sleep easily, but it’s more than that.  It’s a deep-seated need to express something that would otherwise be lost, hidden away, and that would eventually fester inside.

You see, when I step out and perform, whether as a singer or a stage performer, it’s a chance to give all that deep-seated …stuff… away.  All I need is to do that, and I’m happy.  That’s what makes me smile, and there is a moment, in a good show, when the connection between the audience and myself is something alive, and I can feel the hearts and minds of all the people out there, feeling it.

That’s what keeps me awake at night.

It’s funny, you know, that I’ve always hated playing dress-up.  I hate costumes, and I don’t pay much attention to clothes or my hair or whatever.  But when I’m on stage, dressed as someone else, it doesn’t feel like that at all.  It doesn’t even feel like acting.  At the time it feels like… truth.

Maybe that’s what acting is for me – becoming someone else and telling the truth their eyes.  Something like that.

Oh, and by the way, I never, ever, rehearse.  I only perform.  Even at rehearsal, and ofter backstage, and sometimes at home.  Sorry if that makes me a pain in the ass.

More later – joel