EFFORT VERSUS ENERGY (part 1)
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.