The voice that speaks to you, the nagging feeling that you need to be doing a certain something, or the constant pull or desire to accomplish a certain goal or task; those feelings are all messages from your inner being to get up and DO IT! The "it" can be frightening as hell. It can seem like an insurmountable goal. We say "It would cost too much money" or "I wouldn't succeed," or we just make excuse after excuse as to why we haven't begun the process. I do it. Daily. Beginning the process can mean many things. It can mean ending a negative work relationship, a toxic personal relationship, stepping down from a time consuming commitment which no longer gives us life, or simply sitting down and writing out a step by step plan in order to achieve what our heart is telling us we need to do. This week, I have been fortunate to be on the observing end of people listening to what they are being called to do. Some are being asked to return to cultivating their gift of music. Some are being asked to let go of others' negative input about their gift. Some are letting go of the results of poor and unhealthy vocal instruction. They have been brave enough to let go of the junk, open themselves up to new input, and come back to the world of creating music with a wide-eyed and positive outlook for the future. How incredibly lucky I am to be part of that.
Let go. Do it. Be brave.
If we are lucky enough in our careers (and it shouldn’t really be luck if we have done it right) we earn the choice to be able to pick and choose the work we do, the companies we audition for, or better yet, the directors and music directors we work with. Meaning, we can decide to attend this or that audition, or work for/with this or that company or director, etc. But with our integrity in check and a respect for our own values, why does one feel the pressure to say ‘’yes” and work with an undermining director, or a music director who puts our most precious instrument and vehicle with which we want to have a long career in jeopardy? Why do we attend the audition for the director who verbally abuses actors and feels he has the right to criticize their weight or body type, their previous experience, or the fact that they are young and “green” when these are exactly the actors who are going to be willing to give 100% of their heart and soul for the very little pay they offer? Is it because we want it that bad? Or is it because we have been so used to picking ourselves apart, “perfecting” every single note, nuance, expression, nook and cranny in our craft? Is it a little of both? As the teacher, the voice coach, the music director, and “momma bear”, I say no more. The company whose director criticizes and offers detrimental vocal health advice, the company who humiliates a just-out-of-college aspiring actor will lose my endorsement in audition season, regardless of how many Jeff Noms and Awards or great reviews. The budding little company with kinks to work out will win in my book over you, mister. Here is a call to all coaches, teachers, agents out there. Let’s send our lovely and most precious future of Chicago Theater to those who demonstrate a RESPECT for the people who create on their stages, for those who tell the stories, and for those who sacrifice much in exchange for little. That is just, that is right, and it is crucial.