Public Speaking

Karen Kohler’s training and musings in stagecraft, specifically as regards public speaking and presentation.

Improvisation: Language Beyond Words

By |2020-04-29T17:07:50-04:00October 25th, 2017|Acting, Blog Post, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

Words! Words! I'm so sick of words! I get words all day through; First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do? Don't talk of stars burning above; If you're in love, show me! ~ from My Fair Lady (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner) Think about the last time you played with a baby. How [...]

Don’t show us, let us find it

By |2020-04-30T16:30:25-04:00November 24th, 2013|Acting, Blog Post, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

I attended a screening of the new film, Nebraska, with my Canadian actor and pal Jean Brassard. What a truthful bit of film-making it is and what amazing casting! In the live chat with Bruce Dern that followed, he shared some of his wisdom: 1. Don't push. Don't perform. Don't show us anything. Let us find it. 2. Always [...]

Still Body, Animated Mind

By |2020-04-30T16:28:50-04:00November 9th, 2013|Acting, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

What is it that's so powerful about the performers who can command the stage in stillness? I've felt their confidence and comfort in their bodies. I've felt the force of their imagination. In striving for this stage stillness and power in myself, I've watched them. And I've watched the video footage of my own concerts (yikes! - there is no more [...]

Drawing Blanks, Forgetting Lines

By |2020-04-30T17:31:27-04:00February 21st, 2013|Acting, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

The other night I was on stage with my singing partner, leaning back on a chair as her next song began. Only it didn't begin. The pianist played the intro, but when it was time for her to sing, no words came out. This is the nightmare! The singer's, actor's, speaker's nightmare: Forgetting. Drawing Blanks. It happens to all [...]

Understanding

By |2020-04-30T17:41:29-04:00January 9th, 2013|Acting, Blog Post, Performance Art, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft, Storytelling|

To become exemplary, an artist cannot imitate, cannot be a carbon copy of someone else. She must present that which is thoroughly unique - herself - and for this she needs to know herself and to continually grow herself. A good singer builds herself a mental reference book. She excels in the art of seeing into someone else's eye [...]

The Art of Silence

By |2020-04-30T17:46:11-04:00December 17th, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Performance Art, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft, Storytelling|

Music begins inside human beings, and so must any instruction. Not at the instrument, not with the first finger, nor with the first position, not with this or that chord. The starting point is one’s own stillness, listening to oneself, the “being ready for music,” listening to one’s own heartbeat and breathing.  Carl Orff Watching other artists perform is [...]

Gesture

By |2020-04-30T17:49:05-04:00December 4th, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

Every singer, actor and anyone who doesn't have their hands full on stage, struggles with what to do with them. Should they hang down straight? Should they point and lead? Should they give visual cues as to the words being sung or spoken? Should they be cut off? How easily they can be underused, overused, and simply misused. How [...]

Carriage and Silhouette

By |2020-04-30T17:56:00-04:00November 8th, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

From her first appearance on stage, before an artist has done anything to prove her talent, her posture will inform the audience. Even the grandest of introductions from a master of ceremony will be compromised if she walks on slouching. The performance begins with the first part of her that enters - her big toe, her index finder, her [...]

The Life of Words

By |2020-05-06T20:10:28-04:00September 24th, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Public Speaking, Singing, Stagecraft|

For me, singing and acting are minimally about technique and tone and fundamentally about words and feeling. Before I take on a new work, I have to accept what the text and the tune propose, and to accept the proposal, I must have an unconditionally strong feeling for it. Words are the means through which that feeling is expressed. [...]