Thursday, February 11, 2016

View Award Nominee Profile- Steven Matulewicz- Bard

Photo by Jesse Gifford
How many times did you perform in 2015?
People have different expectations of what it means to perform.  Some people see performing as just standing on a stage with an audience, or being in a competition.  In that case, I have not performed this year.  I have, however, added singing, and teaching songs, to 4 events this year in various roles I have played.  I have also sung on quests to entertain various questers, and I have contributed various filks and tunes to be part of quests because I find it adds to the RP immersion and it can inspire plot.  I have also incorporated story telling style into some of the NPCs that I play, so not only to educate people on the plot and Realms history, but to make conveying the information more entertaining.  Because performance, for me, boils down to first the intent to entertain. Sometimes, I have performed for many, and sometimes just for one.  I would say in total, perhaps 8 times this year, more or less.

Why do you opt to perform in Realms?
I find the Realms a welcoming place, and relatively forgiving if you make mistakes.  But mostly
because I can incorporate music and song into various activities. From day to day and in our lives, song, dance, telling stories.... they are not always well received.  Singing on a Skype call is usually frowned upon, for example.  But I also like that many times in the Realms there is an element of improvisation necessary.  Those can be some of the best moments.

Photo by Meghan Matulewicz
What do you do for performances and what are some things you keep in mind that you feel helps to make you successful?
Normally, I will sing or I will tell stories.  For me, I need to stay relaxed and enjoy the act of performing.  I try to keep in mind that "this is not surgery", that if something goes wrong, that it's OK.  There is nothing super- critical riding on my voice, or on the stories themselves... and if a mistake is made, there is plenty of room to recover and correct.

What are some of the challenges you face regarding performing?
Many times, because I am a baritone, it is very hard to find any songs in my voice range I can do without a partner.  Or if I do find a song, it is always this sad, gut-wrenching song about lost loves or dead comrades.  Most of the happier songs are in the Tenor range, and usually have a few notes that are a strain to sing.  So expanding my repertoire can be difficult.

The other part is, somewhere along the line, I developed stage fright.  I have become too critical of my singing, and have not taken many opportunities.  So there has also been almost a decade since I have done more than an occasional performance.  But this year, I wanted to get past all that, and just enjoy myself.  So it can be a lot to get by, to even venture in front of an audience, regardless of size.

Tell us about a memorable moment you had while performing?
Being able to see that you have effected someone's mood, be it to be happier, sad, or whatever the conveyance may be... that is for me the highest compliment and is the achievable goal.

My favorite moment this year was at UCCT.  As part of my NPC, Drualus, I taught people so sing a very old song, the Apple Tree Wassail.  If people sang it, it would make some of the NPCs shy away.  It was a great thing for me, to hear singing and laughing on a quest.   It is encountered very rarely, I think.  But I feel it added to the mood of the quest and was enjoyed by many.

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