In the spotlight

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If the glare of a spotlight energises a person, is there only one way of using that energy? Training in any of the performing arts usually gives the trainee opportunities to experiment with his or her personal attributes. Some folks can hold attention easily, simply because they’re good looking.  Eventually those people have to display a range of colours via emotions or thoughts, so they don’t end up coming across as dull or boring.

Is it possible that some people don’t want attention at all? Surely everyone likes to be acknowledged for being present and having feelings and ideas. The main issue for most of us is how well we can handle the focused attention of a large number of people.

Observing the group dynamics amongst folks who are frequently in the spotlight, it becomes clear that some of them only want the attention on their own terms. When they sense that the spotlight is moving away from them, they realise that they value being noticed and possibly being seen to be notable.

In a discussion group, I exchanged ideas with some acquaintances about the opening paragraphs of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. I’m aware that the book is regarded as a classic of African American literature, but I found myself disagreeing with the central premise of the narrative’s beginning. If a person is treated with contempt or disrespect, does that mean he or she is invisible?

Being noticed in any way is an opportunity to open up lines of communication. Knowing how to make the most of these moments of engagement is one of the great skills of being alive, in my opinion.