Monday, October 28, 2013

Congratulations, it's over!

Sitting through a bad performance is one thing - but what to say to afterwards to the performer?  I've found that people can be ingenious when it comes to simultaneously expressing upbeat support while being completely honest.

For example, one professor’s stock non-statement was to go up to the player, clasp their hand with enthusiasm, and say, “How you played!” with an engaging smile.  

Another slant I've seem is to wildly praise the performer's appearance, "I adore your dress!  What great shoes!  Your makeup is divine!" ...  

There is also the wildly praise the music angle: "I LOVE that set/song/quartet/composer!!," all the while somehow failing to mention any aspect of the performing of said music.

But probably the worst is to damn with faint praise - "It was pretty good. I liked it."  In performer* land, that is usually an insult.  They want to hear the words amazing, fantastic, incredible, life-changing, etc - anything that implies it outshone anything you've ever seen in your entire life and you are in the right ball park.  

Apparently musicians aren't alone. Comedian Matt Ruby commented on some stock phrases he'll hear after a performance of improv (and how to interpret the comments):
"You looked like you were having a lot of fun up there."  =  That one also applies to combining pills and booze. Fun and quality aren't the same thing.
"I could never do what you do."  = really means "I could never do what you do...because I have a sense of shame." Or "I could never do what you do...suck that badly."

just some food for thought . . . 

*Especially with singers