Diary of a Mad Creative: I create therefore I am. Pt. 17

Performance is good. Hell, its the payoff right? It’s why an artist works; that one moment in front of the crowd with your future in its hands. That’s the meat of it. Right?

No. Not really. It’s what you get at the end of the road. Possibly after sweat, some tears, lots of yelling and cussing, and hopefully after revelations about what it is you seek to breath life into. Rehearsal is under rated. It gets a bad rep; like the millions of miles you run to stay in that high school outfit. But it is the place where you grow. It’s where you sharpen the razor your art should be, must become, if it is to matter.

Rehearsal is like prayer. It is the highest form of artistic meditation. It is where the privilege of presenting is earned. What you do daily is an application of religion it is who you are. An artist should live to work. Work is the reason to be. The devout pray daily.

A body of work should have a progression. It should increase, increase the artist, the consumer, the form, it should make things clearer, it should complexify things, it should undo the contradiction between the two. It should change and affirm; soothe and challenge. A practice in the arts should grow an artist. That growth takes place in the work done between shows.

They say no work is ever completed; artist just quit working on it. If the work is alive the tinkering with it continues. It is reinterpreted. It is honed. It’s given music. The music changes. It’s done without music. You take away the 4th wall. You give it a fourth wall. You keep breathing into it. It grows as you grow and you grow in it; it is organic.

Maybe I know this because orality is the basis of my art. Orality has in its roots the ability to keep things relevant by interpreting them according to who is telling the tale, where and when it’s being performed, why, and for whom as instructive post to delivery and focus and ultimately, meaning. Orality is fluid and organic. It’s alive in places like Ebonics; a moving fluid form that is constantly recreated.

It is in preparation when we are most conscious of what it is we wish to render. It is here we commune with form, delivery, nuance, overstanding, effect/affect, and what we wish to leave on the stage. It is where we have the opportunity to consider what we add to the ritual of presentation, and what is it we strive to evoke in those who come to add to the ritual by witnessing.

A sharp knife cuts best. Even improvisation is best when born of artists who hone their craft in anticipation of the moment in which from their unseen hours of labor they will seeming effortlessly create sublimity on demand. Ask a battle rapper or a great free styler how many hours of craft actually go in to those supposedly spontaneous burst of lyricality.

A gift does not mean you don’t have to work on increasing your talent. A gift is a seed. Oak trees grow from seeds just like blades of grass. If you are grateful for the gift then why not increase the talent; why not grow an oak tree or a whole damn rain forest?

There are feathers and then there is Mt. Thai.

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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