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The Psychology of Performance

The act of performing is a generous act: it is an act of giving of oneself to the world. It is also an act of creation where the artist brings what is inside her/him to the outside world. In this creative act, both introversion and extraversion are present. The artist’s inner dimension is as essential to the performance as is the artist’s willingness to face the world of the collective. There is no performance without an audience – an audience which has the power to posit a judgement on the performance, communicate the judgement to the performer and even write about it in a review.

The fear of judgement may trigger complexes, often of authority figures, and the performer may become overwhelmed with parental imagos. The artist encounters issues of stage fright, self confidence and self valuing. There is a risk of the creative output being thwarted.

The challenge is then to be able to be oneself fully, whole, indivisible and distinct from the audience’s expectations: nothing short of the Individuation Process. The lecture will explore the notions of authenticity versus representation, essence versus persona, sharing versus excelling and being versus performing.

It is my belief that it is impossible to perform without a relationship to the collective unconscious. The archetypes are present in the creative endeavor. The lecture will address the role of the artist as a medium between the immanent and the transcendent world and will look at the relationship between Ego and Self in the creative output of the performance.

The lecture will draw on some visual aid – excerpts from interviews, movies and performances – to support the presentation of concepts. It will also offer brief breathing exercises and gentle tension-relieving stretches.