My acting teacher, Kali Meister, can't teach me how to forgive myself for false steps made at a recent performance. She says that's the kind of thing we each have to learn for ourselves. Damn! She's taught me everything else I know about performing my work.
Recently, at the Laurel Theatre, I forgot the lines to some of my poems. No matter that I had practiced them endlessly. Once I got up there, under lights, I let go of patches of poems. I even forgot to perform a couple that i wanted to include.
I tried to incorporate the false steps into the performance. The audience seemed to be engaged, and to like the way I picked myself up. Nevertheless, I really hated myself for the missteps.
No one cares as much as I do.
I'm trying to learn from the experience. What did I learn?
1. Practice more. Remember what Daniel Roop taught me years ago: Learn the poem so well you can perform it even if the audience throws tomatoes at you.
2. If you need a clip-on mike, rent one. Too many things can go wrong with a mike you don't know.
3. Announce more than once that there are books for sale. Make sure that the sale area is well-lighted.
4. Focus on the positive after a performance and build on that.
5. Let go of the last time, of comparisons.
The Laurel Theatre was full.
The younger poets who opened the show really rocked the house (Darren Jackson and Josh Robbins).
We were able to play some passages of David Del Tredici's composition of my poetry, and the audience really seemed to enjoy the musical moments.
Kali Meister sang a few measures of "Stop in the Name of Love" and "Angel Baby" to go with my poems. She rocked!
And most important, I was given an incredible gift by the Knoxville Writers' Guild--a numbered copy of the Sarajevo Haggadah. This book is a jewel, one I could never have afforded myself. Candance Wages gave a little speech of tribute to me and my involvement with the Guild, and gave me this extraordinary gift of a lifetime!
So stop whining and get on with the show! Marilyn
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.