Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Imperfection

The move toward perfection creates a more innate sense of imperfection.

In a profession where we are constantly working to be the best, where do we draw the line?  Performers are constantly trying to get that extra turn, more notes on their range, the perfect contrasting monologues or whatever.  Where does it stop? Are we ever going to be happy with ourselves?  As the end of the semester is approaching, I've been talking to some friends about how much we've improved this year.  I know it's impossible to stand back and look at yourself objectively.  It's so hard to judge what is 'good' in this field.  Everything is relative.  I know without a doubt that I've made so much progress, but at the same time I'm now more aware of where I COULD be.  In my Liberal Arts class (Utopia and Terror), we're studying western philosophical texts; most recently, Descartes.  In Descartes' Discourse on Method, he states that all his education did for him was make him aware of everything he DIDN'T know.  How does this relate to performing arts?  I think on one hand it's great to be aware of the possibilities for yourself, but does it get tiring to be working toward an ever-developing goal?  I now know the caliber of my competition in this field.  I know where my acting could be.  Taking History of Musical Theater taught me so much about shows that I didn't know about, but also showed me how much more there is to be known.  I'm seeing glimpses into my potential self every day.  I guess my question is this: How do we maintain the joy for the art?  Where is the satisfaction?  I'm not doubting my passion for acting, but I think as performers we are constantly judging ourselves.  We're our own toughest critics.  We never have performances that were PERFECT, and it seems that we dwell on the imperfections and blow them out of proportion.  Does that make us work harder?  For some people maybe.  I know that for some people, it turns their passion into too much 'work' and the joy is lost.  Obviously I don't have many of these answers right now.  I guess it's just an interesting concept that I'm toying with.  Thoughts?

3 comments:

Actor said...

To quote one of my mentors: "DON'T CONFUSE ACTING WITH LIVING." I say this, not because I think you are, but because it relates. Performers often judge their PERSONAL value on their PROFESSIONAL skill levels. So many times, I (and, I suspect, many of the people you know) have looked at myself and said, "well, crap, I can't ____________, I SUCK!" Fill in the blank with whatever you like: pirouette, hit a "B sharp," play the hero, win a Tony, etc. But when we realize that we can be less than perfect at our CRAFT, but still be proud of ourselves as human beings, we reach a more balanced outlook, in my opinion :)

Skyler Martinez said...
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Skyler Martinez said...

As soon as you become complacent your show gets canceled.
-Dick Wolf

We must always strive to improve ourselves. However as the previous commenter pointed out, we must be careful not to allow this strive for our passions to engulf our entire person, and each person should retain their self-worth outside their occupation (however in-line with their personal lives their occupation may be).

It is alright to dwell on imperfections... for a while. Facing these imperfections and challenges is what allows us to grow and overcome all kinds of obstacles in our lives.

Keep striving for success! And keep up the great posts!