The Physicality of CRAFT!
My apologies for being often gets in the way!

A week has gone by since Mother's Day.  I spent a wonderful day with my beautiful daughter, Erin, doing mom-daughter things.

One of the activities we have always done together, since Erin was a little girl, is to go to theatre performances of all kinds together.

For Mother's Day, we got tickets to see Alan Cumming in his one-man Macbeth on Broadway.

Great theatre follows you out the door.  It resides in the fore of your mind and spirit,  or lingers in the dusty corners through the week and re-appears constantly as you walk through your day.

This is what happened with Alan Cumming's performance for me.

So many things I could talk about with this tour de force, but perhaps what absolutely stood out, was his absolute integration of the physicality of craft.

Often, many of my singers will comment during a lesson that they are physically exhausted, or sweating, or they are experiencing muscles they didn't know they had or forgot about.

Singing is PHYSICAL.  It is ATHLETIC.  It demands respect of the body.

I am always surprised when I comment on the post-accident me, that I am just now beginning to explore my voice again.  I have been asked "did it affect your voice? what happened???"

Really?  It affected MY BODY.  My body is my instrument.  If my body is not 100%,  it will not allow my voice to inhabit it.  My voice is an intangible made tangible by the physicality of my craft.
My "voice" is fine - it is my body that is no longer the same.

Committing to the physicality of your craft means committing to your BODY.  It means developing that tangibility until it has EASE.  That doesn't mean EASY.

The physicality of craft reveals itself in so many magnificent ways.  I go back to Alan Cumming's performance.  No, he didn't sing,  but he used his voice AND his body.  He did it without amplification.  He physicalized his breath, his body, his language so thoroughly and seamlessly that each character morphed with what seemed to be effortlessness.

The true magic of craft is when the physical demands are so integrated that it looks spontaneous.  It should never BE spontaneous or on the fly;  it should be so practiced, so developed, that it looks like it is happening for the first time.

This is craft.  When you have developed it to the point of not having to THINK each movement through, or hope for the best,  then craft has now become a part of your being.

Watching Cumming embody all of Shakespeare's characters in Macbeth was liberating, and sad.  Why?  I knew that in my present physical state, even though to the observing eye, I "look fine", I am not.  I could not, at this point, inhabit that space of physicality to be on stage...yet.  If ever again.
However, it gives me hope in teaching and demanding from myself and my performers and artists to go further; to sweat more;  to explore deeply;  to push the boundaries;

It gave me hope that true craft still has the ability to change lives.  That language can reside in the physical demands of the breath and the body.  That the human body can follow the direction of the imagination.  That the imagination of the true artistic spirit will DEMAND to be physicalized and revealed fully!

But it's work!!!  Yes, my gentle snowflakes, it is.  (thanks Lewis!)

And when you WORK,  when you embody,  when reveal, when you are willing and able to get your hands into the dirt and create something is worth ALL the sweat,  the fatigue,  the time,  the agony,  the energy.

It will reveal an integrity and liberation you will find no where else.  It will draw you in and you will only want MORE.

Make it BURN. Release the physical and artistic endorphins and SOAR.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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