The world of theater is one of constant tension and release, of many beginnings and endings. You are in an adventure of some kind every moment, whether in the excitement of the opening, in the midst of the theatrical run itself, or in the poignant feeling of closing night. Through the experiences, you learn different ways to see life and discover new connections to people and places. You are actually drawn to it all as a whole experience, and your fears, love, enthusiasm, anger, and desire become passion. Passion generates the qualities of curiosity, openness, and respect. The more you learn how to deeply engage, the greater the probability for change, forward momentum, and reaching goals. Through the artistic processes of the theater, we have an opportunity to use our imaginations to see, hear, and feel things we could not otherwise understand in such great depth.
Rest in reason; move in passion.
~ Khalil Gibran
Theater artists thrive on the strong desire they discover to know, to understand, and to grow, willing to work through the isolation and anguish involved in the learning process. It’s the tension between the powerful desire to learn and the apprehension of truly knowing that generates creativity—that ignites the creative fire. The theater is a place where there is a celebration of many voices. It can transform the lives of people when there is real dialog and recognition that everyone involved has the capacity for being a part of the creative vision. When fully engaged in experiences like this, passion simply grabs you when you least expect it. Once it’s experienced, you can never go back to indifference because you have gained the ability to carry it through; you thrive on the power to steer your energy into actions that further strengthen your growth and understanding. Through this challenge of passion in artistic expression and the pioneering nature required by the ever-changing brink or highest point of tension in the creative process, theater artists constantly expand to successfully achieve their potential. It is the adventure of every moment—the passion for theater—that gives artists young and old the energy and enthusiasm to joyfully persist and persevere.
Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.
~ Martha Graham
Real passion isn’t fleeting. It persists and evolves. Not only is heartfelt passion critical to success in our work and to happiness as human beings, but when others sense it they will jump aboard emotionally. Passion that is genuine is very contagious. We can all use this adventure of every moment to help build desire and create strong organizations, communities, and environments with real focus and balance. We can be driven by the strengths and strategies of organizations with an impassioned perspective; and just like the theater, it can unlock potential and transform entire communities.
Acting should be bigger than life.
Scripts should be bigger than life.
It should all be bigger than life.
~ Bette Davis
Here are four steps that can be of assistance in achieving the goal of passion in performance, whether as individuals or in organizations:
- Realize that the resistance you may face is actually creative tension with the power to transform your awareness and create momentum.
- Make a decision to either take on the tension, thus generating momentum that moves you beyond it, or to literally sit in the tension and experience the emotion of being in resistance. Once you decide to move forward, you soon discover a world rich with possibility, and emotions shift from fear, anger, or depression to courage, willingness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
- Explore ways the tension can be resolved, what the resulting experience might be, and ultimately choose how to move into the resolution. It’s like a game. And like in any game, you may fall and scrape your knee, but you go on because you have come to trust and believe in the resolution.
- Finally, you’re moving forward through the adventure of the moment. The more you do it, the more you love it. It’s liberating and energizing. You will never be able to go back to old ways.
Committed theater performers and many other artists go through this process daily, sometimes without ever realizing it. They’re driven by something bigger than themselves. That’s the adventure of the moment. Passionate people and organizations are inspirational and are truly capable of moving others to meaningful performance, learning, vision, and insight. What drives you and your organization or community? With positive and productive personal desire and an impassioned belief in the fundamental value of your community or organization, all sorts of amazing things can happen.