Performing is like a foreign language that I have heard spoken countless times, and can often seem to interpret, yet I have been finding beyond my abilities to speak. While watching someone perform, I often feel as though I am engaged in conversation, but more often still, I merely bear witness to the often personal exploration of the performer.
As empathetic beings, humans enjoy being voyeurs to the stories, experiences, and therefore, truths of other beings, insofar as we can interpret their transmission. Though this experience may not always seem accessible, this appreciation is not a privilege exclusive to the cultured, it is a byproduct of our humanity. Seeing someone else's truth beautifully, meaningfully and capably conveyed in live performance is quite unlike any other art form. I envision an ephemeral network of understanding being formed during the relaying of the messages broadcast. In breathing in the experiences implicit to performance, an artist may later reimagine what they've interpreted in their own dialect of the same tongue.
It seems to me that, even more delectable than observing, would be to become a vessel for that expression of humanity and being understood anew, or more deeply than I thought was possible.
Like any language, the best way to learn is to be immersed. For me, this means watching and studying as many live performances as possible: being in the audience to support a friend in realizing their own craft, more often listening to subway performers I might otherwise rush past, spending hours descending into the endless YouTube rabbit hole, and sometimes splurging on tickets to see a great artist.
As my voice grows, my many fears of failure ebb and flow in greater magnitude. I am discovering more about the nature of performance, and (hopefully) am growing closer to expressing myself freely and openly on stage.
One step at a time!