Don't take yourself seriously..!

By Robert Clements. Dated: 11/3/2018 3:05:41 PM

It was an incredible performance of Handel's Messiah I was listening to, sung by an Irish choir, which had come all across the seas and performing at the Jamshed Baba Theatre, the best auditorium that Mumbai has. And as the soloist, a lovely looking woman with an even more lovely sounding voice started her solo, the most unforgiveable thing happened, somebody's mobile started ringing.
The sound was harsh, crude and disturbing, and we waited with baited breaths for the soloist to either stop or falter. She did neither and as the mobile sound stopped, her solo continued, pure and perfect, not a bit shaken by the jarring sound.
Later, during the break, as the organizers, spoke, I watched as the same soloist, asked for the mike, and in her lovely voice explained to the crowd, how the sound of a mobile, could totally throw a soloist off, not just because of the interruption, but because the mobile tunes had a different key and could get a soloist to lose their note! It was said without rancor, it hardly sounded an admonition, and was actually an explanation, in which she was not blaming the owner of the mobile for inadvertently leaving his phone on, but telling people why they needed to put it off.
Years before this I had attended another performance at the Prithvi theatre, in which during an intense soliloquy, a mobile beeped. Not rang, but beeped. The bearded actor froze. The audience waited for him to continue, but suddenly, with no restraint, he started a tirade of harsh words, against the person who had allowed his mobile to squeak, when it had been his turn to speak, and then stomped off the stage. No amount of persuasion brought him back, and the show was cancelled.
I know many will tell me the intensity of an actor's performance is such that he loses concentration with even the slightest disruption, but even as I understand that argument, my reply is to train yourself to address this issue, after all you are a professional.
Very often, during a speaking engagement, I have actually, had the person introducing me answering his mobile in the middle of my introduction, or people getting up, greeting each other and innumerable phones competing with me. I've been furious. That's when I taught myself, the phrase, "Don't take yourself seriously!" And its not just the phone, it could be a slip up, somebody mispronouncing your name, even people walking off while you speak. Don't let it affect you and you will find you've won people over by your easy attitude
Whatever, be your profession or position, dare not to take yourself seriously, and suddenly, people will find you endearing, your staff will love you like we all loved the Irish soloist that night at the Tata Theatre..!
bobsbanter@gmail.com

 

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