Life Ain't a Rehearsal, Part Trois - Commit!

Well, howdy!

Now, before I so rudely interrupted myself, I was about to continue, in my typically charming meandering fashion, with my next rehearsal objective, which I scandalously proclaim to be:

Objective #3:  Commit!

It’s time to talk about commitment!  No, not about the commitment papers being drawn up by a well-meaning loved one who’s really after my pot of gold but WILL NEVER GET IT NEVER NEVER NEVER; but the kind of commitment we discuss around the water cooler at Central Casting.  For brooding actor-types (like me, obviously, except for the brooding part, which only occurs about 10 minutes before snack-time), commitment and belief go hand in hand. On stage, if you firmly believe what you’re doing (ie. the situation you’re in as the character you’re playing), you can commit to the scene (or song, or schtick) more fully; and if you can commit wholeheartedly, your belief level will rise to match it.  And the more you believe, the more the audience will believe!  (read: SOLID YELP REVIEWS)

I talk about it quite a bit when I’m directing a comedy.  If you want to make an audience laugh by doing something extremely silly, you’d better be willing to commit to it!  If you think, “this looks stupid so I’ll kind of do it halfway and retreat, hoping for the best”, then you’re not going to reach Maximum Comedy Potential (referred to from here on, for convenience, as MCP)  You’ve got to commit hard in comedy if you want the audience to buy it.  Sometimes it’s a workout (cut to me wearing a headband and legwarmers releasing my new comedy workout video...PS WHAT’S A VIDEO?)! Although It’s true of any acting - it’s the belief in what you’re doing that makes it special.  So just to reiterate, as far as the audience is concerned:

Self-doubt and self-judgment = face frittatas and cricket arias

Belief and commitment = joyous laughter and beverages ejected from noses

Part of committing to anything, of course, is not to judge it.  In a clever throwback to my last love letter to you all about Process, I often see self-judgment as part of the actor’s process. No artist has ever met an emotional self-torture they didn’t like!  Of course, it’s not just actors - we ALL get in our own G.D. way, don’t we?! And I suspect that has something to do with many of us being downright commitment-phobic!  We’re so afraid of looking stupid, or of not being good enough, or of not being worthy, or of being exposed as the giganto frauds we all secretly believe ourselves to be, that we mentally hide under the bed (the bed in my brain is a Craftmatic Adjustable) instead of committing fully and joyfully and living in the moment!  Without the exhausting story we painstakingly stitch together, intricately woven from our countless self-styled and self-imposed judgments, just think how deeply we could commit to something we’d absolutely love! For some reason, I’m thinking of finally getting that travel-sized loom I’ve always dreamed of! (did I carry the metaphor too far there? SEW SUE ME)

It’s been interesting (for me, at least) to write about rehearsals a bit, because more and more it’s confirmed for me that the theatre is just a heightened version of our general day-to-day!  And while I bossily suggest to actors in rehearsal that they need to commit more, I could also be bossily suggesting the same dang thing to folks minding their own business at Food Basics! Which begs the question - where could YOU commit more fully in your life?  ‘Cause ya know, you’ve got greater resources than you could ever imagine if you’ve a mind to harness ‘em, and a glorious moment just waiting to be seized RIGHT THIS SECOND!! Honestly! Seize away!!

Truth be told, when you really commit yourself to anything, what you’re doing is extending LOVE.  Because to commit without reservation, you suddenly find yourself fully present, fully loving, and fully in the moment.  You’re giving yourself to that moment and not qualifying it with what you might get in return. You flippin’ love what you’re doing!  And when you commit to love, you’re committing to YOURSELF. And why not? You deserve it!!! Have you met you?? DREAMBOAT ALERT!

So no matter what you’re doing - playing Hamlet, frying a schnitzel,  exercising a shih tzu, chin-wagging with a sweet amigo, playing flamenco guitar, or burying your pot of gold where no one can possibly find it - commit to it!  Don’t judge it, don’t worry what other people think, don’t back off, LEAN INTO IT. Enjoy it! You came all this way, for the love of pesto - you may as well!!

I, for one, am committed to Fresca forever, to MCP, and to YOU, and I am LOVING ALL OF IT. ♥

J. Sean ElliottComment