“A Numbed Ego”, Christina Keefe, Visual and Dramatic Arts

I was devastated by criticisms of my work! Are you kidding? It was awful. I think it’s having a sense of determination and awareness to open up and look at what’s wrong. One of the things that you learn in theater is that you have to take a risk. You have to fail miserably in order to come through to the other side and find out what really works. It’s a very strange beast because it’s very personal. When you have somebody look at your work, it’s very hard to look at it as, “Oh, that’s my work,” versus “That’s me.” There’s a need for us to remember, “This is the character, this is the work, and this is me.” That way I don’t think that I’m a bad person. After the initial “ugh,” then you have to go and ask, “What didn’t work and why?” It’s like that in science too.    When you get to a certain point in your life, you can really feel when something’s not right and you need that constructive criticism. That’s one thing I really try to give to my classes – a safe place for them to fail. This is a place where you can fall down, make a total mess, and then we’ll put you back together again. The more that young people can get that, the more they can then hear constructive criticism and go, “Oh yeah, this is again not about me. This is about the work I am doing.” As I get older that gets easier and easier to take, because my ego has numbed a lot.