The Miracle of the First Time
Some articles of interest in the alt-weeklies I brought along to read during take off and landing:
Orlando Weekly had an interesting review of From Dreamer to Dreamfinder: A Life and Lessons Learned in 40 Years Behind a Name Tag by Ron Schneider, an actor, writer, and director at many of Orlando's famous theme parks. Schneider was the original actor who played Dreamfinder and his dragon Figment at Kodak's Journey into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot Center. Columnist Seth Kubetsky extracts from the book "seven laws of live performance that ought to be tattooed inside the eyelids of those running our local attractions." This was my favorite:
Creating this "Miracle of the First Time" is a central discipline of any live performance. The only way this thing works is if you show up every night... ready to pretend you've never sung these songs and never heard these jokes.... The moment you decide it's more important to amuse yourself or another cast member, the guests will pick up on it.
Boredom with the material is a problem among performers and producers, and if they don't overcome it with a professional attitude, they cheat the audience who may have never experienced a popular classic: The choral director who says he'll scream if he has to put on another Messiah, the ballet director who wants to "update" and "improve" the setting and choreography of The Nutcracker, the stage actor who decides to break the fourth wall or break up his fellow performers, the church song leader who insists on modern, whiny settings for traditional hymn texts.
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