Sunday, July 12, 2009

What is that "it" factor?

late Sunday musings...

My studio is presenting 10 singer-actors tomorrow evening in cabaret showcase and we had our dress rehearsal got me thinking even further.

Each young artist/performer brings something to the table, no question, but what is that "it" factor? Is it talent? Is it commitment? It is study? What???

Of course, all these things are so important in developing craft and creativity.  But why can some be so talented yet it doesn't grab you no matter what?  Or not have a  particularly "pleasing" talent (!) and yet you can't keep your eyes off them and they move you? Or both talent AND energy?

Can I verbalize this? Do I dare?????

Probably not...but what seems to rise to the fore is simple and yet most complex:


Pure and simple.  Passion.  

Perhaps it is not the "it" but it is the pathway there to access and harness the "it".

Do you have passion at all??? for anything???? Is passion for your craft, for your DOING, for your BEING over-riding you? Is your desire so multi-dimensional that the excitement of DOING through your craft and artistry visceral? Or have you ever found passion at all? for anything?

Perhaps this is not the "it" - perhaps we cannot define that, but could passion be the portal through which we access that "it" if it indeed exists?  And could passion be fulfilling and riveting and motivating and allow our audience an opportunity to leave changed, as we are changed claiming the passion we possess?  Or perhaps, is passion larger than we are, and indeed, challenges us and takes us where we need to go? Not necessarily where we want to go or where we would like to go or feel comfortable?

How often have directors told someone to quit being careful...or heard, it was a "careful" performance or a "contained" performance?  What are we scared of as artists? That passion is a beast and could consume us?  What? That we can't control it? 

Passion should be the largest, the safest and the most vulnerable and most committed of all emotions we possess.  We don't FEEL passion, we HAVE it - or we don't.  We allow passion to move us - to DO something.  Isn't this what true acting is?  To DO something to evoke a response in the audience?  It seems to me, passion is the primordial energy that feeds ALL of that - and allows us to find the excitement of performance, the development of character, the truth of the moment -  A raison d'etre in life.

If an artist cannot emerge drenched from and with passion what drives them? What soothes them? What motivates them? What inspires them?  Which leads me to another question - if there is no passion, are you truly an artist? Or are you a decent performer?

Can passion feed ANYONE? Absolutely!!! Every profession has its "passionate" ones!  We see them feed and motivate and STIR their talents, skills, crafts, LIFE with that passion - that "it" that is truly theirs - that energy that is vibrating stillness...latent and powerful.

FIND IT! CLAIM IT! LEAN INTO IT!  Is it there? Find out where it wants to exist and thrive - perhaps it will lead you elsewhere; discover it and find out where it wants to take you - the ride can be a brilliant one!!!  You don't have to wait for a performance to allow it to live vehemently!!! You don't have to wait for permission - yours to acknowledge, yours to claim.  YOUR CHOICE, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.


  1. This is great, Susan! And something those of use who may have "studied" too much need to revisit all the time!

  2. Great post. You have definitely identified the "it" of the "it factor."

    Passion radiates off those who have it, it gives them charisma, it takes the audience along on the journey. It can make the audience yearn for a passion of their own.

    That passion may hit you when you least expect it. It wasn't until my late 30s that I felt that pull, and I've never looked back! As you say, don't hold back - don't deny your passion!

    It all sounds so hokey but the thing is... it's true.