Razzle Dazzle ‘Em: Episode 1

RAZZLE DAZZLE EM!

Performance Tips From a Theater Geek

                There’s no doubt about it, performance is tough.  The fine line between putting on a good show and putting on a great show is a thin one, and let’s face it—we’ve all seen a show around town that left us wanting more.  Oftentimes, performers are not the extroverts that we expect them to be.  I speak from experience.  This is the girl who had separation anxiety in grade school and didn’t really speak in public.  I eventually came out of my airtight shell in high school and college through involvement in theater and music.  I know this is a recurrent theme among my artist friends:  the art brought them that much closer to themselves.

So what’s the secret to a great performance?  It’s not extraversion, it’s not costumes, it’s not crazy antics… they key is being comfortable in your own skin.  “Balderdash!” you say.  “My self-esteem is great!”  Eh, we all have our self-conscious hang-ups.  My suggestion is learning a little bit more about yourself every day so that when you get on the stage, you’re comfortable conveying your art—it’s one of the deepest personal interactions you can have.  The closer you are to who you are, the better your performance will be… even if you’re in drag, wearing outrageous makeup and singing about monkeys throwing feces.  All great tactics.  I humbly offer you some tips so you can razzle dazzle ‘em next time you climb up on that stage…

  • Be aware of how you feel on the day of a performance.  You may feel like you’ve just won the lottery, but chances are you had a crappy day at work, someone pissed you off, or maybe you just feel under the weather.  Not every show day will be a great day.  Sometimes using these frustrations and setbacks as an ignition point can really set a performance on fire.  Angry?  Show it!  Sick?  Use this opportunity to give a guttural scream, hock a loogie into a cup on stage and feel like a rock star!  Point is, use disadvantages to your advantage.
  • Keep a (dare I say it) diary or journal and keep track of your days.  This WILL help you indirectly.  You can jot down what happened, how you felt, a cartoon of yourself doing something ridiculous, anything you want really.  Spend five minutes or spend an hour.  Having a hard copy of your internal monologue will definitely keep you in touch with yourself.
  • Think of things to spice up your stage act.  Props, costumes, performance art, makeup—these are all good things, but make sure they come from a genuine place inside the music so they don’t come off as gimmicky and cliché.  There’s nothing wrong with a little visual stimuli to accompany your tunes… unless you have enough boyish charm to be able to just stand there and sing.  We can’t all be the Beatles.

More tips to come with a focus on a different performance topic each month!  Peace, and may your next show kick ass.

by Mary Meler

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