Kat Leonard launched her first solo show at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year garnering critical acclaim and an invitation to remount the show. It’s one thing to write and record your own album (which is already a remarkable achievement to most), it’s quite another to mount an entire live theatre show with synced video that showcases your music. The only other person I’ve seen dancing alongside videotaped dancers is Beyonce! Kat generously offered to pull back the curtain to give us a speak peak at the process of taking on a project of this scale. Thanks Kat!
In Kat’s Words…
Being a performer is to constantly strive to express what’s in your heart in an accessible manner. As a live performer, the challenge is to navigate your artistic vision within the practical conventions of time, space and technology. And in a live performance, you only get one shot. You are in a moment that you cannot take back. There are no edits or second-takes. In a perfect world, our performance goes off without a hitch and the message is translated as intended. In a perfect world, no speakers or light bulbs blow, the power doesn’t go out, we don’t forget our own lyrics, we don’t lose our breath, and we don’t slip in our own sweat. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world. In the end, it is up to the performer under that faulty light, on that slippery stage, in that moment, to make the most of the moment– whatever it may bring.
November 2010 I got into The Toronto Fringe Festival for July 2011. It was a dream came true and A Depper Kind Of Love (my multimedia one-woman musical comedy extravaganza) was fueled. For 7 months I toiled in preparation. I released a CD of 10 original songs along with a 52-minute video to run alongside the live performance. I started regular cardio exercise so I’d be in shape to deliver the spectacle. 7 months of planning, writing, recording, editing, choreographing, promoting, rehearsing, laughing, doubting, sweating and fretting, tantrumming and computer boxing. (Computer boxing: the act of punching the lights out of your computer for inexplicably and insensitively losing your masterpiece and/or refusing to follow straightforward commands.) And finally THE MOMENT had come.
Show #1: We opened to a glorious and enthusiastic audience… and halfway through, the video zonked out.
Show #2: We were received by an exuberant sing-along audience… and halfway through, I strained my hamstring jumping into un-choreographed splits I curiously found necessary at the time.
Shows #3-7: I struggled physically with pain and exhaustion and a forced change in choreography. I struggled emotionally to put my ego aside and accept the fact that I was unable to present the show as I had designed and rehearsed for 7 months.
Due to technical breakdown and injury, I never performed the second part of the show as planned. The execution of the show had changed, but I realized that it was still a string of moments that I as the performer was responsible to make the most of. At the end of the day, even in a big-budget exhibition, a live show always comes down to the performer. The performer is the show. I keep this in mind as I prepare for the remount of Depper Love this November. And I extend this lesson to my life. I try to remember to always live in the moment and make the most of that moment, ‘cause you only get one shot, you ARE the show, and the show must go on.
More music, videos and events at: www.DepperLove.com