Monday, February 25, 2008

Tricks of My Trade Feb 2008 - Naked On Stage

No, it's not what you think... Not exactly...
A few years ago I was watching an episode of Fear Factor. I had never really been a fan, but there was nothing else on that night and so I tuned in while I did some work on the laptop. The first challenge immediately got my attention. The contestants were going to face one of the top 3 fears people have - public nudity! To do this, they would participate in a naked fashion show! That's right, all 6 contestants had to strip naked, and walk the catwalk in front of an audience of about 350 people, all with cameras flashing. They had to walk the cat walk and pause at the end and pose for 1 minute, naked, and turn and walk back up the walkway. Guess what? They all did it. Further, it was so dramatic a challenge that not one contestant was eleiminated in the following rounds. They each had become invincible. It would be the final challenge - a time relay challenge - that would ultimately decide the winner.

This episode got me thinking about the invincibility that the contestants felt after an excruitiating few moments of vulnerability, and what it means for a stage performer. I began to notice certain things about great entertainers. They were all willing to be vulnerable in front of their audiences, to expose themselves - to be naked on stage.

I'm not talking about literal nudity on stage. I'm talking about the willingness to show your vulnerability in order to gain invincibility.

A recent example is that of Hillary Clinton. She had her naked moment when she cried on stage, in front of a rally of supporters. You'll also notice that after that, her numbers soared. She for a time became invincible.

So, how can we as performers and entertainers exploit this principle? We'll explore that next month...

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