Some have said we should nix our black clothes. I wouldn’t mind seeing the guys in something other than tails. I just don’t want my black taken away! I love wearing black because it’s easy; I don’t have to think long and hard about what I’m going to wear, it doesn’t cost a lot, and I can “mix and match”. And it doesn’t make the stage look cluttered and distracting. So please let me hang on to my black!
Some think we should be less formal. There does seem to be a wall between the audience and performer. We used to be told we weren’t allowed to go to the edge of the stage and converse with audience members; that was considered tacky or some such thing. I think talking to audience members can be a gas, and it’s good for them to know we are “just folks”. They don’t always get that … but maybe they don’t want to. But what if we had little informal chats by those of us who are willing to do that? I’d be happy to talk to audience members on occasion. (Yes, I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t start to talk if you hand me a microphone — just try and stop me!) But would that ruin some audience members images of us?
Sidebar: Once a woman came up to me at a reception and said “Oh, I just can’t imagine what you were thinking when you were playing that symphony! You must be in another world. It must seem like heaven!” — or words similar anyway — and then she proceeded to tell me where she was and if I’m recalling correctly she was taken to a desert somewhere. I’m not sure why. I wanted to tell her I was trying to decide if I would have my typical bowl of Cheerios when I got home, or if I felt more like a beer. I didn’t say that though; some audience members want to hang on to their illusions and I’m not one to destroy them. Although by writing this I’ve probably ruined so many readers’ images of me.
But I ramble. (Duh.)
The other thing I wonder … and maybe this is a foolish wondering … is what will happen to my performance if things are changed. If we have a different “feel” and things are less formal, will I relax too much? Will my performance become less that it has been? Sometimes being relaxed can do me harm. I need a bit of the stress I guess. Not TOO much, of course, but I need something … it gives me energy and edge.
There’s so much to think about when it comes to concerts and how to improve them without losing something special or diminishing the music.
Now as to the audience dressing up: I honestly don’t care. I enjoy opera opening nights because we pit folk ooh and aah over all the clothing (and we may laugh a bit too), but I really don’t care what someone wears. I’d prefer that everyone be comfortable. It’s a long sit sometimes. Come in your robe and slippers, for all I care! Shoot … maybe that’s what our new dress code should be: a black robe and furry black slippers. Hmmmm.
What a long ramble. Can anyone spot a procrastinator in the room? Reeds, they be a’callin’. Me? I be ignorin’.