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Every time you get on stage, think of these tips before speaking.
When in doubt, making eye contact and playing to the audience is the plan. Play downstage (towards audience) center. Never stay upstage too long. Never leave stage / staging area. Never face away from audience. On camera (Online Presentation) Have your eyes just above the midpoint, showing the top of your shoulders and leaving juts a little bit of space above the hair line.
You will play a range of emotions as an actor and comic. BUT when in doubt share your biggest grin. People smile when you smile. Laugh when you laugh. OK I think I am quoting an old song now, but serious it works. Remember our #1 Rule: HAVE FUN!!!!
Before speaking take a big breath. You need air to project. Breath = character, text, emotion, movement. Breathe in your inner monologue/subtext intent. Breathe in confidence. Fill your body and mind with the power of oxygen.
When you are new to live performance, chances are what you think is normal will not be heard in the first row. You may feel like you are screaming. Send your voice and physical presence to the back of the theater. An acting teacher once told me, “Imagine you are 20 feet tall.” Imagine you are making eye contact and speaking intimately to someone in the back row. I like to imagine a balcony even in small theaters. UP AND OUT!!!
Whether, acting, singing, dancing or performing comedy, listening to your surroundings becomes most important to the overall performance. An artist is hyper aware of fellow artists on stage and the audience. The best performances of any kind have the artist listening and responding in real time. Whether scripted or improvised, your characters are experiencing life without a script.
From the time you arrive at the theater for performance/rehearsal/class focus on the task at hand is extremely important. Take a moment of quiet time to sort out your own life. Prepare yourself to discover and rediscover your character (s) and material. Relax your breath. Stretch out your body. Do a few tongue twisters. Warm up your voice. Journal your thoughts. Be ready to rock!!!
As you grow as an artist you will break these rules often and on purpose. But always return to center!