A particular attitude or way of regarding something is known as perspective. It’s also referred to as point of view. I’m famous for doling out the advice, “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”, and when I take my own advice it’s beautiful. But it isn’t always easy. As an actor I’ve had the privilege to be able to perform in front of very large audiences. It’s a question many audience members have asked me over the years; “what’s the largest amount of people you’ve ever performed for?” And I have a few stock answers I usually give. What I should say is, “the size of the audience has nothing to do with it.”

I think some people measure the success of a particular performer by the number of years they’ve been doing it, what theatre’s they’ve worked at, who they’ve worked with, even what roles and shows they’ve done. They as an audience want to be able to impress friends and neighbors by telling them they saw an actor last  night who once performed on Broadway or was in a movie with Tom Hanks! As an actor I get caught up in that too. And when asked about our ‘biggest audiences’ my ego want to give them an answer they’d be proud of. I have to stop doing that.

I do not act because of an audience, big or small. Yes it’s true I love acting in front of a receptive audience who pay attention and are moved by what I’m doing, but it can’t be the only reason. And my level of enthusiasm for performing should not and cannot be ruled by the number of audience members attending.  It is all a matter of perspective.

This acting career more or less chose me. The fact that I make a living doing it is such a privilege. I’m making a concerted choice to change the way I look at things. I’m going to look at audience size from the the theatre’s perspective. I want the different venues to succeed so therefore I want them to sell more tickets. But that in no way will effect how I perform. I strive to give the same performance whether there are 30 people in the audience or 300. And if someone asks me what the biggest audience I’ve ever performed for I’m going to respond, “I try not to think of those things because they don’t have any bearing on what I do.” Yes, I love the symbiotic relationship of actor and audience. It’s why I do what I do. But the truth is, all it takes is one audience member to make that relationship happen. I’m going to meditate on that for awhile. 🙂