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The Performance and After

Experience how the pressure of performance demands adjustments in the way you approach your work.
Consider the place of emotion and the necessity of spontaneity in your performance.
Examine the impact of your own fear of failure and desire for success. Experience how the presence of the audience ushers in a whole new phase of growth.
Reflect on your own sense of purpose as an actor and your capacity for transformation.

At last you are ready to put your work before an audience. This is an exciting and, for most of us, an anxious time. As public performance approaches, it helps reduce anxiety to remember that performance is merely one step in the process of creating a show, not an end unto itself. As thorough as your work may have been so far, it is incomplete until you have received and assimilated the contri­ bution of the audience. Go forward to the performance with a spirit of curiosity and eagerness; you don't really know what is in the play or the role until you have shared it with an audience, for it was written to live in the communal mo­ ment, and we can never fully anticipate or substitute in rehearsal for the audi­ ence's presence. In fact, you will very likely experience your work anew when it is performed, and you may be surprised at how different it may seem.

Emotion in Performance
Young actors sometimes think they must re-create the character's emotion in order to generate each performance "truthfully," but this is an exhausting and unreliable way of working. We may sometimes be tempted to admire the


STEP 12 �The Performance and After

13 1

emotionality of an actor who loses control and is overwhelmed by emotion in performance, but a display of emotion for its own sake is never our true purpose. A great actor aspires to use…...

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