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We visited Eshale at the hospital….

Eshale was seen by us at the hospital. I am aware of this because I can virtually see myself at his age. I am aware that comparison steals joy. The insanity of trying to force myself into a flawless performance is another feeling I vividly recall. It is a murderous, self-defeating strategy that will only smother an otherwise lovely moment on stage. Art is a shaky, unstable thing. It can be delicate in its creation and is sensitive. In many ways, it must be delicately formed. An artist cannot afford to treat their performance like Lennie did with his cherished rabbits in Steinbeck. Although Lennie had the best of intentions, he ultimately crushed his beloved rabbit by holding it too tightly. Julian’s fingernails are so firmly planted in his acting decisions that he squeezes the life out of every possible moment of truth in his scene, just like Lennie does with his rabbits. This is a risky method that never renders life in a beautiful way. The performance costs are severe. And we would be wise to avoid having our characters suffer the same fate as the well-intentioned but destructive Lennie. A light touch is necessary for the lifelong journey of perfecting technique and artistry. Deliberate practice, which is to say a methodical, intentional approach to developing a skill that requires concentrated attention as opposed to mindless repetition, takes years. We must practice working flexibly while seeking out specificity, resonance, and technical accuracy in our implementation. In the performing arts, simple repetition merely helps to reinforce mediocrity. This element, including the technique and practice methods, can be taught.

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