I think I now understand how the term Diva came to pass.
Yes “Diva” can include a multitude of occupations. A plumber can be a diva, a nurse, a rock climber. But I now have a deep knowledge of how the mind of a diva is formed in musical theatre, and that nothing like that could ever happen in theatre.
(When I say “theatre” I mean non-musical plays.)
We did a sitzprobe yesterday. I had never heard the word till a week ago, learning that I would be involved in one. I went out bought a rifle, ten gallons of water, and as much canned food as I could carry… discovered it was “where we sing with the orchestra” and returned all that I had purchased (save for the water—that’s still useful).
When you hear the band play for the first time—it’s so unusual, but exactly right. Kind of like going to Slovakia, walking around churches, museums, cafe’s, and finally you meet the Slovakian version of you in a vodka bar. Makes sense, but never stops being weird.
To the point…
People get up and sing and microphones, and then sit down. But the people with the voices that seem to be gifted from an unnatural place, like the sword in the stone—and they seem to pull it out afresh, every time they open their mouths. When these people finish singing, everyone bursts into spontaneous applause. It’s near impossible not to.
In a non-musical play… that shit NEVER happens. You’re doing a scene in rehearsal… I don’t care how good it is, how deeply it affected me, how unravelled I feel—I am not going to burst into applause. No one does that. That would be really weird, if you were rehearsing a scene and were really into it, and you’re feeling it, and it ends and all the actors that were watching start applauding. That would be humiliating. It would never happen!
But in Musical theatre… I’m getting the idea that it does. And when you get used to someone applauding after you finish working, that does something to the brain, the body. It makes you crave it. It makes you feel, if you don’t have it, or if you didn’t get it… something was lacking that day.
It also doesn’t happen to everyone else. So when these gifted few sing—we burst into applause. When the rest of us sing—life continues.
I’m happy that life continues. I think that’s a good thing.