The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm Batman...

That's right, I'm Batman.

I am Vengeance...

I am the Night...

I am Batman.

But in all seriousness, one of the most interesting side gigs I kind of fell into this year was working for a company called Forever After Parties. Occasionally I dress up as Princes or Superheroes for parties and events. It's a jam. I get a bit of extra cash to make kiddos very happy and to play improv for an hour or so.

But I have to be honest, when I first was approached about this I was a weeeee bit skeptical. Not because I think I'm above this, but I wasn't sure I'd be good at it or right for it. Anybody that knows me well knows that I'm not the greatest with kids. That combined with a bit of social anxiety I just didn't know how a situation with me and a bunch of excited chitlins would play out. 

However, I gave myself a set of rules to live by when I became The Opera Bro, that I was always to say "Yes" to a situation if it:

-Didn't bring about harm to me or others.
-Didn't detract from my training or singing
-Didn't put me into a horrible financial  position
-Gave me a life experience I might not have known before

Dressing up as fictional characters to the delight of chitlins doesn't break this credo. And, despite my initial hesitance, it's proven to be very rewarding and a lot of fun. In fact, dressing up as fictional characters has taught me a few valuable lessons...

1.) When playing batman, never go with the Christian Bale voice. Most kids play the video games or watch the cartoons associated with Batman (Kevin Conroy), and using that voice alone for 2 hours is going to wreck you, Christian Bale voice will turn your vocal folds into hamburger meat.

2.) Be mindful of the cape. You will step on it. It will be in front of your hands unless you push it out of the way. If your bat suit has hooks you can keep the edge of the cape in it's grips so it's always being pushed out of the way when you decide to gesticulate with purpose. This obviously doesn't help Superman or any other super/fictional character with a cape, with them you're going to need to get a firm grip on it pretty much every time you move.

3.) Don't just know the character, but the character that the kids know. Disney Princes are pretty easy, unless there is sequels or T.V. spin-offs. With Superheroes you can't go with your favorite comic depiction of the caped crusader, and forget about being Adam West Batman, nobody wants that. Be the Batman the kids need, not the one they deserve... And the kids are going to try and trip you up. They will shoot you all sorts of questions that you gotta be ready to answer. "The Batmobile is parked outside with a cloaking device so nobody can see it." "My weapons are reserved for the Joker and Injustice!!!" "Robin is patrolling Gotham while I'm here."

4.) Never go full Batman. Batman is kind of a dark character, most of the time a little bit too serious, and is always preaching about vengeance and being the night. No need to bring up all of that business about your parents being shot in front of you when you were a kiddo.  I had a couple of kids who were scared of me as Batman...that being said I had a couple of kids who were scared of me as Kristoff...and I've had a lot of people who have been scared of me as plain Ol' Yeargain, so this may be a personal issue...

Now, something more specific to Batman lessons...People love Batman. Kids LOVE Batman. We live in the age of Batman. He's a human, not blessed with super natural powers or injected with a super serum, or bitten by some kind of mutated arachnid. His skills have been learned and crafted through dedication and discipline. Batman is more than a person, he's a symbol. He is exemplified in numerous ways by people who want the world to be a better, safer place. (If you haven't watch the documentary "Legends of the Knight" on Netflix, get yourself some tissues and give it a watch.)

A part of all of us believe that Batman does exist and that in some way we can become Batman. (If only we had access to military grade armor/weaponry/vehicles and the millions necessary to live that bachelor persona of Bruce Wayne!) So, that being said, if you're going to be Batman, be Batman. People have a sense of ownership over their heroes, and the worst thing you could do is not live up to their expectations. I'm looking at YOU Ben Affleck. Clooney had his chance and blew it.

Until Next Time, get out of your comfort zone, make some memories and life experiences. Make someone happy.

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro/Batman

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