I have a card that I’ve held onto for years. It’s corny, but it provides the inspiration for this post.
“More time, less hurries.
More fun, less worries.
More smiles, less mess.
More merry, less stress.”
Easier said than done, right? The spirited hustle and bustle of the holidays is a lot like a life in the theater. Showbiz often glorifies non-stop movin’ and shakin’ and yet the importance and power of rest is taken for granted and often overlooked. For aspiring musical theater students, grasping the significance of rest is the key to refining your craft and ensuring a lasting career. There is also a biological need for rest and relaxation in our lives.
“When you rest, you catch your breath and it holds you up, like water wings…”Anne Lamott
For performers, rest is like tuning an instrument between gigs. I’ve learned that creativity thrives in a quiet mind, and new ideas evolve naturally. In this sanctuary, our minds forge connections and spark breakthroughs. Before long, you will find yourself in a whirlwind of college commitments, so embracing rest becomes crucial for dedicated study and top-notch performances. It’s not just about rejuvenation but unearthing new artistic pathways and finding your unique voice.
During moments of downtime, we can reflect on our work, absorb feedback, and integrate new techniques—leading to continuous growth and improvement. Emotionally, the artistic journey is a wintery sleigh ride; but rest acts like a reset button, providing clarity amidst a blizzard of emotions. Avoiding burnout becomes essential as we pour heart and soul into our work. You’ve been training rigorously but need breaks to safeguard vocal health, maintain peak performance, and preserve your enthusiasm and energy.
Rest isn’t only about breaks; it’s about self-care, fostering connections, and drawing inspiration from life’s experiences. For passionate musical theater students, understanding rest’s importance early on preserves well-being, and paves the way for a sustainable career. It prioritizes quality over quantity, producing work that resonates deeply.
I’m getting ready to run the Holiday Half, an annual “fun run” in my hometown. Like a marathon, a creative career demands stamina. Sustaining a career in the theater requires pacing oneself, understanding the ebb and flow of creativity, and, you guessed it, respecting the body and mind’s need for rest. It’s not too soon to develop and nurture your own patterns of self-care. Preparing for your college auditions can be all-consuming, but learning to rest helps to strike a balance. It allows time for self-care, rejuvenation, and maintaining relationships outside the theater, which ultimately contributes to your well-being and performance quality. It’s about saying ‘no’ when you need to, prioritizing self-care, and recognizing that quietly sipping a mug of hot chocolate by the fire is as crucial as productive hours.
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”Banksy
In a go go go culture that encourages constant productivity, advocating for rest might seem unusual. However, it’s integral to nurturing a fulfilling creative career. It’s a badge of honor, symbolizing an artist’s dedication to their craft and well-being. It’s more than memorizing lines. Acting involves authentic embodiment of characters, and this is made possible with the mental clarity and emotional stability provided by rest and relaxation. Maybe we can give ourselves one simple goal for the new year: let’s never diminish the importance of rest.
Now, as visions of sugar plums dance in your head… go get some rest. Enjoy the holidays, recharge, and return refreshed for the next act!
About the Author
Randy Redd (Florida State University – Music & Theatre) appeared in the original Broadway productions of Parade, Ring Of Fire, and Million Dollar Quartet. Other credits include Smoke On The Mountain, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BY Jeeves, Terrence McNally’s Some Men, The Burnt Part Boys, Randy Newman’s Faust, Pump Boys & Dinettes, Alain Boublil’s Manhattan Parisienne, Max Vernon’s The View Upstairs, Florida Georgia Line’s May We All, and numerous concert appearances with longtime collaborator, Tony Award winner, Rachel Bay Jones. Film/TV credits include: Beautiful Creatures, The Last Five Years, After the Storm, Kinsey, From Broadway with Love, The Wright Verdicts, and The Tony Awards. Writing credits include: Mississippi Sugar, American Tune, Sons Of Levi, What’s That Smell?, Elkin Dab, Touché, Dan Mills’ Fiction In Photographs, You Be You, a children’s television series, and a new musical project with Tony Award winner, Levi Kreis. Recordings: Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes with Jason Robert Brown, The Burnt Part Boys, Ring of Fire, Lucky Stiff, Parade, The View UpStairs, NEO, House of Love, Songs from a Failed Play, and ShowFolk with Rachel Bay Jones. He has enjoyed teaching and coaching at CAP21, NYU, and Broadway Workshop.