Vermont... so cold right now.
Why did I come back here during the coldest time of the year again? Oh yeah, cause I love musicals.
Two nights ago was my cabaret, and it was so wonderful. Forest West Lounge was looking like a really awkward place to myself and others, but as soon as people began to fill the seats and floor with their support, love, and smiles, I knew it was the perfect place for me. The space was just cute and quirky enough with its mismatch furniture, fake candle lighting, and squeaky door, making it so precious.
The lounge was full with professors, teachers, and friends from all my activities during my four years here. I was so blessed to have all these people here to encounter this buttoning experience with me. It was definitely a different audience from my first try at this night. Right from the start I realized that I was going to be able to talk with this audience like no other audience I will ever come across again. Here was a group of some of my closet friends and professors that not only know the places and people I am talking about, but know me personally, complete with all my quirks and feelings. So all of a sudden I had people laughing and responding to everything from silly anecdotes to my mannerisms. And because of this, I felt that the audience’s responses allowed my stories to become disjointed amidst my own facial expressions and giggles. It was hard to harness my own responses to the audience’s ones, but after a few songs I felt I had gotten back to my more direct focus.
Even though the stories felt a little more sporadic than my prior performance, the songs felt much better. All of a sudden I was finding brand new moments within all of them. My accompanist (the wonderful Ricky Chen) and I were rehearsing a bit the night of just before going to dinner. We started the first song, “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”, and it just felt awful. I was focusing so much about the sound and trying to keep my voice bright and out of my throat, but it sounded and felt horrendous. Immediately I stopped and asked Ricky if we could start again. Quickly I changed my thinking and went back to the words, focusing solely on them, and my voice was there like never before, feeling better than ever before. It’s when you give into the story of the song, what those lyrics are expressing and sharing, that the true voice shines through. And that’s just what happened during my performance that night. Never before have my songs of my first heartbreak felt so real to me, and that came through in the actual vocal quality of the song, making it that much more poignant for me and for the audience. It was an “Ah-Ha!” moment for me.
I love talking with people about my piece, hearing their ideas and seeing what they responded most to and in what way. I got a beautiful response from everyone I got to talk to. One of my good friends did say how he wished that I did more showing and less telling. At first I didn’t really know what he meant, but then I realized it was in response to the flow of the piece. As it is now, there is a lot of story, song, story, song, etc. I’ll tell a story and then look to my accompanist to play the intro for the next song. It’s a little stop and go due to the fact that it isn’t scripted. I actually made a point to not read over my script too much before this performance as I wanted to stay away from that feeling. What I’m now seeing though is maybe a script could help, with the knowledge that I’ll be playing within that script and chatting with the audience. This would give more opportunities for my accompanist to have a cue to listen for to start playing as I’m still telling a story, thus being able to fall right into the song, creating that seamless transition.
With this, I do hope to create a more polished script, sticking to that direct purpose and point I have been told I am getting across in the expression of my stories. So that’s my next goal. It was so amazing to see how my experience at Midd affected others that I both knew and didn’t. It gave me yet another showing that the sharing of personal moments in as stripped and honest of form as possible does touch others in a positive light.
Now I’m in the process of getting some of the better clips from this performance up on YouTube, so be sure to check in to see when they get up there!
With the completion of my cabaret, now I’m gearing up for “Urinetown”. Things have been going so well with this piece. Out of the four productions I have choreographed this year, this is the first that I am not in as well as choreographing, and I am loving that. I am having this great time of playing with the choreography aspect fully and seeing what I can do with it. I can put my full focus into this one piece of the puzzle and make it as powerful and memorable as possible. And what’s great is that we have three full days left! That seems like eons to me nowadays and I love that. What I am stressing now is sharpness through the means of fully completing each step that is given. Nothing is sloppier than letting moves bleed into one another. But it will all come together; it always does.
Be sure to get your tickets to “Urinetown”! It’s gonna be fabulous!