Have you ever met a life complicator? Someone who takes something fairly straight forward and makes it massively more detailed than it needs to be. You know the type – you introduce an idea or a new concept and they want to know every little thing and how X fits with Y and then asks “Why are we doing this?” Inside you are thinking, “Can we just get on with it?”
I once worked with a lighting designer and what I wanted to do was very simple. It took an hour to do the first two cues because he wanted to consider every possibility before he would settle for anything. As you can imagine I was tearing my hair out. I didn’t want to offend him but there weren’t enough hours in the day. Here was someone who had not grasped the concept of cutting to the chase!
I have a theory that I often refer to in our work. I call it the “Ladybird Book of.” Remember those little books you used to read of fairy stories, or nursery rhymes. They had a page of words on the left and a colourful painted illustration on the right. I can still see particular pages in my mind’s eye if I think hard enough. The point was that everything was very simply explained, and the picture supported the text.
I think this approach works well in the world because keeping things simple makes life so much easier. You save valuable time and don’t start wittering unnecessarily. I’m sure you have heard that Winston Churchill used to insist that anything put before him could be no longer than one page of writing. That’s brilliant because you get to the point more quickly. Sometimes we are given so much information that we don’t know which way to turn and then we give up.
On stage this approach means you don’t have too much ‘stuff’ in your head. That is why to learn to sing, dance and act you don’t get your degree at a university. You don’t spend hours writing essays; you spend hours learning to communicate effectively to an audience. It’s why everyone who works in a theatre has to be on the same page. The audience isn’t interested in whether you are an expert on human behaviour or Chinese theatre – they just want to see you bring a character to life – one they can believe in.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for experts, I’m just saying that most of us would like to understand what they have discovered in an uncomplicated way.
At Theatretrain we have a straightforward curriculum
Since 1992 Theatretrain Performing Arts Schools across the United Kingdom have been providing young people with part time performing arts classes at weekends. Without the cost of attending an expensive full time stage school Theatretrain is an excellent place to start your career in the performing arts. For further information about our weekly lessons in acting, singing, and dancing visit www.theatretrain.co.uk.