Cold reading is a term used in theater. It means "reading aloud from a script or other text with little or no rehearsal, practice, or study in advance" (Wiki).
A playwright schedules a reading so she can get a feel for how the play is working as a whole, so she can hear the rhythms of the language of the play in the actors voices. It allows her to see the play from a distance, usually for the first time. It's an integral part of the creative process.
On December 11, 2017 at my apartment on the Bowery, around 35 brave and generous souls gathered to listen to me "read" through nine (out of the 25) songs I have written for the Death album.
The questions I wanted to answer by staging this reading were these:
- What is the best way to tell the story of my time as my Mom's caregiver from her diagnosis to her death? What songs? In what order?
- What is the narrative arc that is most powerful to a listener?
- How do I talk about these songs as I am performing them? What is the stage banter, if any?
- How do I keep the show from being too sad? My time with my Mom was filled with happiness and joy, so how do I show the full range of that experience in a set of music?
- How do I end the show?
- In general, how did these songs work? What feelings, conversations, and moments did they create?
- Playing these songs, creating this event, am I any closer to my goal of changing the conversation -- or lack thereof -- around death?
Here's a picture of the set list from that night ...
If you were there that night, thank you for coming. It was quite an evening! There were more than few tears and more than a few laughs -- including a hilarious prank pulled on me during the show by my dear old Dad!!
I'm so grateful for your attention, your openness, your willingness to cry, laugh, and share yourself with me and my family and friends. We created more than a few moments that night, didn't we?
If you weren't there, I'll be doing more of these evenings at my apartment in NYC.
Don't want to miss out? Make sure you are on the NYC concert list, otherwise you won't get the details about the house concerts and other gigs around the city.
Don't live around here? Let me know in the comments below if you want Facebook live concerts of this music and the album as it takes shape.