KSVS Summer Intensive Blog: #19

EFFORT VERSUS ENERGY (part 1)

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Kim talks to me a lot about using more energy and less effort.  This week I came back from family vacation with still more family in tow.  There has been lots of running around New York City and very little sleeping.  I have to admit that I’ve stumbled into my voice lessons a tad more than exhausted.  I can feel that I’m under-energized so the temptation is to push.  But the truth-police-performer in me runs away from pushing like it’s a fatal disease and an actual crime rolled into one.  This dilemma prompted more conversation about the difference between energy and effort.  Sometimes when I try to let go of muscling it, I just get casual.  When I try to get the air and energy moving, I sometimes end up tense.  Since I’m primarily a classical actress, Kim suggested I pull out some Shakespeare and see how that feels in my body and try to create that same sensation in my singing.

Richard Easton is the best actor I know at being simultaneously relaxed and over the top alive!  He calls it “pointy, spitty” acting.  I know that sounds dreadful, but he’s always believable and often spitting.  That night we saw Shakespeare in the Park and the actor playing Troilus, Andrew Burnap , was so very relaxed and then it happened – I saw tons of saliva flying from his mouth.  I find myself doing the same thing in any play with heightened language.  Why is that kind of athleticism ok in classical theatre yet it’s hard to bring into my singing?  I think it’s because the world of a classical play is so large.  The language is elevated so you find yourself rising to the occasion.  Well, as Kim points out, isn’t the world of a song just as big?  It’s poetry.  It’s set to music for goodness sake!  Singers can allow their energy to be giant because the medium calls for that.

~ Kimberly Y.

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