“We’re communicating on a human level: The content isn’t important anymore.”
That’s a quote from an interview with Nick Kendall, a violinist with Time for Three, in the Indianapolis Star. Nick is wrong about the content not being an important part of the success of Time for Three. I’m a huge fan, and it’s just plain fun to watch these classical virtuosi, technically some of the best in the country, break into Irish fiddling, reach over and play each other’s instruments, and act like serious clowns. He's exactly right, however, when he says that the content becomes less important than the communication. I’ve written in Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer about a high-school-age actress who was given an unfortunate set of lines: “In 1865, . . .”; “Then in 1890, . . .” and about a dozen more. She played those lines so engagingly that I didn’t notice until afterward what terrible writing she’d been given. “Commune” in all its forms is a variation of the word “common,” something that is shared. We communicate when we talk together, when there is a mental or spiritual exchange. We can also participate in a mental or spiritual exchange when the medium is not words, but music or dance or even silence. Communication at the human level is what all performances should be about. If we’re not communicating when we perform, we ought not to be on a stage.