Innovating Through Artistry

Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Smiling as Loudly as We Can

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on November 14, 2009 at 2:50 am

“Don’t worry if you don’t hear the audience laughing during dress rehearsal. They’re old. They’re smiling as loudly as they can.”

-Tim Frawley,Theatre Director, Libertyville High School

The high school I attended had an ongoing tradition of inviting elderly citizens from the community to come see dress rehearsals so that they didn’t have to pay full price for tickets on performance nights. The laughter and applause of an elderly audience was never as loud or as enthusiastic as an audience full of our families and peers, but at least the house was full. As students and as artists, it was very easy to feel doubtful. Here we were in dress rehearsal on the verge of a production that we’d worked very hard on in front of an audience and the first time. We were projecting ourselves out into a darkened auditorium and hoping for some kind of response. We had no way of knowing whether all our hard work resulted in something we could be proud of unless we could hear the audience laugh at the jokes. And sometimes we didn’t even get that satisfaction.

In such unforgiving economic times it is easy to feel that dress-rehearsal doubt. We cross our fingers and tell ourselves to “break a leg” because we don’t even want to risk frightening away good luck. When we take risks, whether as an artist or as an entrepreneur, we put ourselves out on stage under bright lights staring out into a vast darkened empty space with no way of knowing whether anyone is watching. We have no way of knowing whether we are succeeding or failing except by the responses that we get from other people. And like in theatre, sometimes that response never comes.

If we’re wise, we carry on even in the face of apparent apathy. At times like this, when the auditorium in which we perform seems to be dark and empty and vast we may not be able to see our audience but we need to remember they are there. The audience is seeing us because we are there to be seen. And they are smiling as loudly as they can.

Advertisements

Signs and Change

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Emotional Intelligence on October 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

The other day, in a bad mood, I went for a walk and asked the universe for a sign. I didn’t really have a particular sign in mind. I didn’t even have a question in mind that I needed an answer for. I just needed to know that there was something bigger than myself at work in the world that I could have faith in.

When it comes to signs, in the absence of religion any statistical improbability will do. On an empty street near a parked car I found eleven dollars on the ground- a $10 wrapped around a $1 and I took it to mean that the universe was listening. Being rather literal minded I took it to mean that what I was really looking for was change and that when I was ready for that change it would become available.

I decided that since I had gotten the sign that I had asked for (and since I hadn’t really asked for money) that it wouldn’t be right to keep the cash. I decided I would give the $11 to the next person to ask me for change, which turned out to be one of the ladies that I work with who was promoting a fundraising drive for the Off The Street Club to help get youths off the street in Garfield Park. For a low, low donation of just $10 I could get a kid Off The Streets. It just so happened that I had $10.

I gave them $11- I hope they didn’t mind.