There was a rainbow out over the ocean today as we set the stage for our “magical variety show.” Thought of mom. Mom and I always connect over rainbows. It was a good way to kick off the night.
Anyway, been thinking a lot lately about the purpose of a show. Some performances have a point--some message to convey. Not street shows. With street shows, the purpose is to get people to watch some crazy skill you have practiced for no good reason and then pay you with applause or money or both. Some performers take the “pay me because you’re supposed to just because I’m here doing this” attitude and some take the “pay me if you received something of value from my show” attitude. That value can take the form of laughter, amazement, a sense of wonder, inspiration, entertainment, education or an emotional connection to the performer and other audience members. I’m going for the second attitude and trying to imbue all of those values and more.
I was told once by my friend Joey Hopper about a quote from noted puppeteer, Alexander the Great, who said of the audience, “you’ve got to love them; even when you hate them, you’ve got to love them--cause they’ll know.” I’ve been thinking a lot about my own mindset when getting ready for and performing a show. Love them--always. They have no obligation to watch me--if they are doing so, then be grateful for it and give them something good to watch. Without them I have no job, no reason to be there--I’m just some overgrown kid playing with his toys. With them, I have the opportunity to use the skills I have honed as a foundation to build a unique connection with this particular group of people at this particular moment in time. And if I show them some love and use that connection to craft a moment of enjoyment worth experiencing and remembering, then they’re going to show me some love right back. This creates a feedback loop of energy that cycles and amplifies and develops into a great show. The kind of show that people come back to see. The kind of show that can charge more to come back next year...
To recap, the idea is to love the audience and get them to love you back. This is more tricky than it sounds and it has been, and will be, my endeavor for a long time. The trick is getting them to love you now. Developing love over time is easy, but getting random strangers walking by to interrupt their schedule and bother to love you, well, that’s the golden hat.
So, while backstage before my shows today pondering all this, I came up with the idea that my goal as a performer is to generate instant love--for the audience and from the audience. All of my shows will now be experiments in attaining that goal and I must remind myself of this before every performance.
I’ll keep you updated about how that goes.
Also, if you read the last blog entry and want to know, Britainy Dibbs will again be performing with me on the street this Tuesday and Wednesday, August 25th and 26th, here in beautiful Virginia Beach, somewhere between 18th and 25th along Atlantic Ave, from 7:30pm to 11.