Last week I had an understudy at one of the volunteer slots I fill. She had shadowed a different volunteer the day before, and the director of the organization recommended she also watch how I do this particular job.
When we were done, I laughingly said I hoped she had gotten something worthwhile from it, as I had noticed she filled a notebook page with notes, probably all things NOT to do since she had already watched another “veteran.”
“I learned so much I didn’t know, and I loved your enthusiasm. You were ‘on’ the whole time and kept your audience entertained.”
Ah, yes, entertainment. That’s what we do. Then I realized, that’s what I do every time I step out the door. Makeup, hair, wardrobe. I take on the role of whatever I am doing. I engage the audience with enthusiasm, energy, interest. I watch for feedback and adjust my movements, language, spacing, to meet their expectations. Especially when one works with children, one must always be observant of their reactions and quickly adjust to meet their needs.
After pondering this for a bit, I also realized, this is why I am tired at the end of each day that I step “out on the stage,” or in other words, leave my house. Although I could do this for a full day when I was teaching high school students, it has gotten harder as I’ve gotten older. I need more ‘downtime” to replenish the supply of enthusiasm and energy it takes to pull off the “role.”
Makeup, hair, wardrobe. All in place. I’m ready for today’s “show.”