Saturday, November 6, 2010

Final thoughts on Improvisation: Becoming a "Medium"

When I am on stage performing, I tend to imagine myself disappear. I literally walk out on stage as "Mari Kimura", who is just DELIVERING something to the audience, and not Mari Kimura who PERSONALLY has something to say or to express.

Last month, I posted a thoughts on Having Something to Say.  I was speaking about listening to "boring" performance and wondered why.   When I am performing, I am having something to say, but not myself personally.  This is true in being both as an interpreter and performer/composer or improvisor.

Ever since I was young, I always had a feeling of "separation" within myself; I was floating away and looking at myself from outside.  It used to scare me as a child, and it happened often especially when I was sick or coming down with a cold; it was like almost having a nightmare while being awake.  Curiously, today I have internalized it, and I automatically "externalize" myself when I am performing.  This was a conscious decision, or a form of "self protection" after experiencing years of quite a harsh "stage fright" all through my adolescent years growing up in the most competitive music conservatories.  I became so nervous before performance, I used to almost throw up weeks before concerts, my pulse would become very fast and I would hyper ventilate; it was rather pathetic.  So I had to work on a method to overcome my nervousness.  I read many books on acting, especially Stanislawski.   This subject is for another post, but what I achieved, or what I have become, is to be someone other than myself, when performing.

I stopped being afraid on stage, because I myself wasn't there anymore.  I become someone else, or at least a "Mari Kimura" who is merely delivering the "3rd dimension", the musical flow I talked about, expressing and communicating to the audience.  I become sort of a "medium".   I lost the reason to be afraid on stage, since I have nothing personally at stake; I understood that the reason you maybe afraid on stage, is because you have something personal to lose.  Since I am a "medium", my failure and success depends on how I'm able to deliver as kind of a "middleman" between music and the audience, and "Mari Kimura" myself has really nothing to do with it except to managing it.

In my real life as "Mari Kimura", I like to keep myself quite neutral; there are more flamboyant type of artists whose personal life, demeanor or mannerism maybe more "artiste"; their professional and personal profiles are closely related.  That would probably help my career advanced since people seem to need to put you in a "artist" box, and expect you to act and dress like one!  I really consider myself quite plain in person, not a "performer" in social occasions or parties etc.  I like having a quiet, normal life with my family, except when I am on stage or recording.  Then I become someone else.  Improvisation is the same, and I like being someone else, or a "Medium", completely detaching myself from my quotidian life.

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