Preparation: It Ain't Just a River in Egypt
In my pre-child days, I used to think that if I did have a child, I would strap her to my back, papoose-like, and we’d be out the door, carefree and fleet of foot, on whatever adventure life threw at us. I laugh now at the innocence and yes, stupidity of that notion. In my daydreams, I never accounted for “the stuff.” I should have known better. I should have realized that as an actor that in order to get that beautiful, idyllic picture of sunshine, unicorns and rainbows, I would have to hold/carry/tuck/remember a LOT of stuff.
Actors are the kings and queens of preparation. We have a process. We’ve named it. We call it…wait for it…rehearsal! Yes, that’s right – rehearsal. The process by which you try everything, pare it down to a few good things and through months of hard work, transform it into two shining hours of gaiety and light. Unless it’s Shakespeare, in which case it’s three hours and everyone dies.
Preparedness is key, with kids, theatre and in business. Don’t we always want to give our best selves? The way to do that is to prepare, rehearse, rinse, repeat. You can’t reno a house without the prep work. You can’t create an excellent meal without the prep work. You wouldn’t go to work without showering and brushing your teeth? Well, maybe you would but you shouldn’t, and that’s the point.
In our download, “5 Things Actors Know That You Don’t,” number one is rehearse, rehearse, REHEARSE. Know your material inside out and upside down. Set yourself up for success. Whatever “it” is you’re getting ready for, create a situation where you have all of the tools to complete “it,” and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition. Polish your introduction. Sharpen your presentation. Allow yourself the confidence to know that you’ve got this by rehearsing and playing and finding what works and what doesn’t. Yes, you have to account for a certain amount of Murphy’s Law intervention, but control what you can and let the rest go. An actor as well as any good leader knows that there is no theatre/business/commerce/parenting/anything without some preparation. If you believe “winging it” is a good option, well, you’re just floating down the other river in Egypt.
LB Adams is the Owner of Pragmatic Dramatics based out of Charleston SC. Her company uses basic acting techniques and theatre games to train business professionals to communicate more effectively.