The Illusion of Spontaneity

All too often the pursuit of ease and comfort on stage tends to lead to the appearance of laziness and boredom.

“I don’t get nervous anymore.”

“I’m completely relaxed and at ease.”

“You can’t surprise me. I’ve seen it all.”

So often I hear young and inexperienced artists make such boasts in an effort to appear seasoned. However, the pursuit of relaxed and at ease is rarely a good aim.

Tension is good. Tension leads to engagement. Engagement keeps an actor poised and ready to respond with freshness to whatever comes their way.

Sure, in a scripted show we should know what’s coming. It should not surprise us. But as a friend told me recently, it’s the illusion of spontaneity that fascinates.

While we may know what’s coming next, the audience doesn’t. It is our job to create an illusion of spontaneity within our responses and reactions that will fascinate our audience.

No one buys a ticket to watch someone live their everyday life.


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