Perfection is a very common trap for any Artist. I believe that we, as Artists, are born into this world with a clearer sense of perfection from the ‘other side’, and spend our lives trying to re-create that perfection here on earth. But this plane is imperfect by its very design (except in nature, of course).
Case in point: I had the great privilege of seeing my dear friend, the masterful Mark Nelson, star in the off-Broadway production of “My Name is Asher Lev”, this past week. There was a young actor, Ari Brand, who did something so revolutionary, so simple and so real . . . that it quite literally took my breath away. At the start, he walked to the lip of the stage to address the audience. I’ve seen many actors do this before, but I never saw anyone do what he did. He didn’t speak. He stood there and looked at us for the longest time, with his heart opened, daring us to open our hearts. In the presence of this beautifully opened heart, our hearts naturally desired to be open. From that moment on, he had us.
Why do we not try this in an audition situation? Instead, we want to be perfect and adored… and as a result… get stuck in our heads. We are there whenever we future-project or wallow in the past. It is not a very pleasant place to be.
However, when we are in our hearts, we are in the present moment. It may feel happy or sad (or everything in the feeling spectrum) – but always alive and yummy. The breath is the pathway to the heart.
Think about it. If we ever could create the “perfect” character, by its very definition, he or she wouldn’t be human! Humanity is imperfect and messy and flawed, and thankfully that’s what makes most of us so loveable. Allow yourself to be imperfect in your work. Factor into your work the truth that not everyone likes everyone else. Do you really believe that People Magazine does a survey around the world to come up with its “25 Most Beautiful People” issue? Some people will adore you, and some will be confused by you. But if you are lucky, you will have at least revealed something of what it is to be like you. And that beautiful sense of who you are is not centered in your head, but in your heart.
One thought on “Heart Openers”
I LOVED this. This is the language the world is trying to speak to one another. The heart is NOT a metaphorical place or destination for speaking or listening. It IS the place. I’m currently writing a book about this for presentational coaching but it’s born out of helping actors in close to half a million auditions and being a professional musician and the son of one. Toscanini said it best: “Great performance is only possible when the heart is on fire and the mind is on ice.” Bravo for this blog post, Jeffrey!