Artists: Being Fulfilled Is Your Responsibility

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Artists: Being Fulfilled Is Your Responsibility

2016-04-30T17:20:47+00:00 November 5th, 2011|

IMG_4135It’s hard to believe we’ve been on tour for two months! It’s even more difficult to believe that we’re only 17 performances/1 week away from the end!

dishBefore leaving on tour my agent Geanette and I sat down for lunch at Mickey’s Diner. I shared with her that I was afraid: maybe I wouldn’t like touring, maybe I’ll get sick of the show.

She smiled and said, “You’ve got to love doing the dishes.”

She elaborated saying cleaning the plates is as much a part of the process as preparing, serving, sharing, and eating. You’ve got to love the whole process!

And her advice helped. It shifted my mindset and got me mentally prepared for 9 weeks in a car with a stranger. With only a week left on the road I will confirm: I love “doing the dishes!”

Thoughts On Fulfillment

Last weekend John and I left mid-Tennessee and headed east to Knoxville. We met up with another NTC tour group, Andy and Rebecca, to celebrate Halloween.

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For two days we did what most actors do when they’re together: talk about the work. Our discussion touched on many issues, but one still stands out: fulfillment as an artist. Some of us weren’t being creatively fulfilled by our shows.

Artists: being fulfilled is your responsibility. This task rests on your shoulders. I can’t tell you what’s going to feed your soul.

The artistic fulfillment discussion reminded me of people who talk about God.

Why?

Because my relationship with God (or the Awesome Energy, Love, Holy WOW!) is extremely personal. It makes me uncomfortable when people presume to tell me what God is/isn’t/should/shouldn’t be.

Find your own definition of God. While you’re at it look for your fulfillment too.

The work we’re doing on the road is important. Maybe that sounds silly if you’ve seen our show or the promo video:

Yes, the script has important lessons on saving energy and how people waste resources.

But even more importantly NTC is presenting work to a group of individuals that have never seen a show before! Most are elementary school students.

For me this is an aspect that makes the work fulfilling. To play a part of someone’s first theatre experience is special.

Andy and Rebecca said their show was geared toward the teachers in the audience. The show was filled with pop-culture references. And that works for their troupe. But they weren’t fulfilled.

John and I approached our show differently. Our show is for the students, not the teachers. Our audience — the folks we’re really playing to — they’re between the ages of four and twelve. Our show is high energy with silly big lovable characters. And we are fulfilled.

Part of the reason John and I are fulfilled is because we understand our audience and play to them. Part of the reason Andy and Rebecca aren’t fulfilled, I presume, is because they’re playing to the adults in the back of the room and ignoring the other 99% of the audience.

“In one sentence, what is all you want to do in life?”

Part of the reason this work is so important for me has to do with my answer to the question:

All I want in life is to be a great daddy, wonderful husband & provide for family by doing what I love while helping make the world better.

I think a part of being a “great daddy” (or mommy) is being an educator. And between the laugh lines, educating is what we’re doing.

After the show we meet our audience. I always ask, “What did you learn today?” Following the student’s answer I ask: “Why is what you learned important?”

Weighty stuff!

If I can see that the student understands the question and is mentally formulating their answer I wait for their response.

I want the students to feel what they say matters. If I’m asking them a question it’s because I genuinely want to know. I want them to learn that their thoughts are important.

There’s a lot of teachers that don’t make the connection between needing to allow time for the student to ponder the question and answer. Teachers need to allow time for a student to gain the confidence to take a risk with the answer and vocalize it. A lot of students are so afraid of being wrong they can’t find the words.

(I’m certain there’s also a lot of teachers that want to take the time, however, can’t afford to do so due to the politics of teaching in the public school system.)

There’s so much more I want to say, but hotel check-out is in two minutes!

If you have 22 minutes, check out this video by Tony Robbins; perhaps it will help you understand why this tour has been so fulfilling.

What do you think?

One Comment

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