Life Ain't a Rehearsal, Part Cuatro - Focus!
The focus for this blog is, adorably, FOCUS! So let’s get all focussed up!!
As part of my ongoing searing exposé of my recent personal rehearsal objectives, I have to confess that focus is a biggie! Why? Because focus is BUENO. For muchos reasons! (NB - I insist on giving my blogs a certain international flavour...DE NADA)
As a hifalutin’, la-dee-da director type, your focus can get downright squirrelly during a short-ish rehearsal period! There’s a lot of overworked and underappreciated artists, producers, stage managers, marketing people, and all manner of fabulous professional folk who require your attention when they require it. It’s weirdly difficult to do sometimes - we’re so understandably scattered by our marvelous technological advances, like auto-eyelining Snapchat filters and wi-fi toasters (couldn’t we just go back to old-fashioned talking toasters, like Milton in the Pop Tart commercials? (SIGN MY PETITION I’M NOT READY TO LET MILTON GO)...it’s easy to get sucked into a veritable Dyson of distraction! So reminding yourself to give your focus fully and freely to whomever requests it from one moment to the next is the golden goal! And don’t keep dwelling on the person who just had your attention and is no longer there, or on the next person you suspect is waiting to pounce - keep your focus where you are, and enjoy the inevitable appearance of clarity and helpfulness. For clarity comes to focus like yellowjackets come to carnival food! The trick, ironically, is being focused on staying focused. And until the happy day that I can say “Siri, make me focus” and she can slap me across the face (which always works like a charm), I’m going to have to focus the old fashioned way - by looking, listening and making an effort to be where I am!! Put a little elbow grease into it, Myrtle!
Focus comes in pretty handy on stage, too! (ALERT THE MEDIA) Being able to focus in front of hundreds of people is a skill that you can beat into yourself, for sure. Beyond basic survival, however, being conscious of where you’re putting your focus on-stage will help the audience know where to place their focus, and help tell the sweet/funny/tragic story you’re trying to tell! And being really vigilant with your focus will help the audience snap to attention. (TRANSLATION - less visible confusion and/or snoozing in the front row)
Focus becomes positively crucial in fast-paced comedies or crowded musical extravaganzas...I mean, if you’re in the climactic chariot-racing scene of the new musical adaptation of Ben Hur, you gotta know which glittery chariot you’re supposed to look at, right? (which reminds me, I should get back to the splashy new musical adaptation of Ben Hur I’m writing)
Also, in comedy, you need to know, from a kinda rudimentary construction standpoint, when the setup needs focus and when the punchline needs focus. Cause if you miss the setup, the punchline’s gonna be a major flop-a-roo! It may seem obvious, but both the setup and the punchline are of equal value - a fact often ignored by those actors who always want to hog all the laughs! (WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME? RUDE.) I LOVE the setup. If you only focus on the punchline while you’re doing the setup, you’ll sabotage the joke. Focus on a great setup and the punchline will take care of itself! Just set it and forget it! (Lifehack - works with both home perms AND comedy!)
When I ponder it (as I am right now, while gazing out the exquisite leaded windows of my fabulous century home...no, wait, I’m at Tim Hortons), focus can provide you with a beautiful sense of flow in your life! Instead of focusing on the result (the punchline), focus on the NOW (the setup). In different terms (for deliberate and nagging over-emphasis), the punchline is your intention, and the setup is the process. And if you’ve been following along in your hymnbooks, we’ve already talked about setting your intention and letting the process work its magic. You gotta love that process!! And how do you love that process? Focus. Be there. Commit. Love what you’re doing. That’s all focus is! It’s loving what’s in front of you! And why not? We came all this way! And the ticket for this moment is non-refundable! SO ENJOY IT.
You know what I enjoy? YOU! I’m fully focused on sending you love and NO YELLOWJACKETS. Just love! (yes, I can love yellowjackets, too, but it’s a funnier image to think of me being chased by one while I’m holding a corndog, no? OUI.) ❤️