Updated: Jun 18, 2020
A live performance is exciting! There's a palpable energy in the air as the audience hurries to their seats in anticipation for the show they're about to witness.
You ever wonder what goes on behind the thick, dark curtain? Are the actors standing perfectly still and quiet until the performance starts? Is every set piece perfectly placed, and every costume change is exactly where the actor needs it to be?
Chances are it's chaos behind these curtains! Last minute make up and costume fixes, scrambles to touch up set pieces, actors pacing engaged in last minute rehearsals of their lines, stage and lighting managers troubleshooting boards and layouts. Utter chaos!
This is not because these performers and crew are ill-prepared, but because they are trained to constantly mold and tweak their art in order to get things as close to perfect as possible, even up to the final minute before the curtains are raised.
But why do they do this? Doesn't it stress them out or take away the joy of their performance? You might think this, but any good performer knows the toiling, stress, and constant edits are necessary for an optimal audience experience. Ever see an actor start the performance by complaining all the work they had to do to be on stage that night? Ever have the chef come to your table just before your perfect dessert arrives to moan and groan about how difficult it was to craft the dish?
No. The performer, the artist, on the stage, in the kitchen, behind the manuscript, lives to serve their product to their consumer. This is how a speaker must view their presentation, as a dish served to their audience.
It's not about the speaker, it's about how their content impacts the audience. Sure, getting to the point where you've achieved this will be difficult, possibly even chaotic. But, remember the thick curtain on the stage. The audience does not need to know how your presentation came to be, just that it has arrived for them to enjoy.