Last night we had a reading of one of the shows. After I gave feedback on one of the shows, the performer felt emotional and began to cry a bit. I knew she was taking personally my critique about what was not yet working on her show.
Feedback can feel tough when we are working with such deep, raw and intimate material. In my experience, you have to have a coach/director you can trust to have your back. You have to have a director willing to say everything she sees, then encourages you to go on, continue the process and sink down deeper into your journey.
It is a fine balance. In the first part of the year with my students, I am encouraging of all kinds of exploration.
But when we move into working on the script, I get tougher. Because, like any art form, this form has things that work to bring the audience in closer, and things that will push them away.
For me, it is very important that I keep the performer safe onstage, even while (especially) while she is revealing her intimate stories and/or characters she has created herself. Stories need to be titrated like doses of medicine. They need to flow and have highs and lows, be multi-dimensional, find the humor and joy even in the midst of grief, challenge the audience without alienating them. This is not an easy journey or process.
It takes people into the depths of themselves and demands deep personal honesty about everything.
If you are embarking on this process make sure you find a director who is always striving to find the balance between deep creative support and finding structure that works...And one who will tell you the whole truth while holding the space for your success and completion of your show.
In short, one who loves you and loves the audience and has your back.