Year 2: Focus and Breathe

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.” ―Robert Greene

After an entire year of practicing and taking lessons, leaving the ‘zone’ had become a bit easier and I was beginning to branch out. Now, this being accomplished, I still had a ton more to work on.

One of the most important abilities of an actor or actress is being able to place yourself totally into the mind of a character. This can be increasingly difficult when distractions abound, and during the second year of musical theater camp, I had quite the time trying to keep my mind focused on the tasks ahead.

For one, the show we were putting on, Into the Woods, required an intense amount of memorization, harmonizing, and dedication. Putting in the practice at home was hard, and it was difficult for all of the actors to get on the same page.

Secondly, there were quite a few more kids my age that year. We all got along well and enjoyed each other’s company, but over time, it became clear that we would rather hang out and goof off than pay attention to what was going on around us. By the end of week one, I barely had my lines memorized, much less my choreography and blocking. I needed to shape up—quickly.

Applying myself didn’t come easily. In fact, it took a ton of concentration to even finish learning my part. But I needed that experience to truly understand what it meant to focus and be the character. It had always been easy for me before that point, but I needed to be challenged and learn how to arrive at a new level.

In the end, I simply had to breathe and begin ignoring what was happening around me. Those who did the same put on a stunning performance, and overall the show went very well. But to this day I still look back and regret being so distracted. I wish that I had buckled down from the very first day and done my best, for our audience and for myself.

To tune out the world is a skill not easily acquired, but it’s necessary for singing, for playing musical instruments, and of course, for acting. I didn’t realize the magnitude of this principle until it was almost too late, but it helped me greatly in fine-tuning my skills and learning more about the art as a whole. I so much look forward to delving more deeply into this principle at Lochwood as I reach new levels of discipline.

Author: Kirstan D.

Look forward to Part 3 this coming Thursday!