Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lessons from Nutcracker: Breathe

We perform our Nutcracker really early (next week) so I'm passing on what I learn so that you can apply it to your show.

Seriously, just breathe. Yes, you are sick of working with certain people. Yes, the rehearsal schedule just changed for the nine millionth time and you're not sure you can rearrange your  real-life schedule to fit. Also, yes, you are being oversensitive. We all get to that place. Just breathe.

As artists, the bulk of our work is emotional. That's what makes performances so breathtaking and meaningful. Your willingness to be vulnerable and honest and giving to a theater full of strangers is an inspiring strength. It's why you care so much about what you do. And when you care so much about something, it's easier to lose perspective. 

I don't have a way to avoid the heightened stress and drama that accompanies Nutcracker. If I ever figure it out, I promise I will share with you. All I can say is keep breathing. Remember that everyone is feeling the tension that you feel. Give people the benefit of the doubt and a little extra kindness. Remember how much you liked these people six weeks ago. If you can't remember, lie to yourself. 

The work you are doing is exhausting and currently feels endless and thankless. Keep breathing so that you don't hold on to those feelings. It gets better; just don't pass out in the meantime.