acting

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 [...]

Edge Play: Creating Art that Challenges

By |2020-04-29T17:09:27-04:00January 30th, 2017|Acting, Blog Post, Performance Art, Singing, Stagecraft|

Performers are revealers; we lay a thing bare. To cultivate as broad a landscape of potential revelation as possible, we venture from the center of familiarity and recognition to the edge of mystery and uncertainty. Just as there are edges to the stage space, there are edges to us performers too. I consider the edge that place where there's nothing to hide [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

A Singer’s Face

By |2020-04-30T17:53:37-04:00November 21st, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Singing, Stagecraft|

A singer's face is a map. When the audience closes its eyes, her face should burn through their eyelids. I love faces. All my life I've studied them. Staring is a tool of the trade. The face relays the health of the body and the soul. A doctor always knows when we have a fever, and an audience always [...]

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 [...]

Training

By |2020-05-02T19:28:50-04:00October 12th, 2012|Acting, Blog Post, Singing, Stagecraft|

A person wishing to become a chanteuse must study the voice. A chanteuse who both sings and speaks her songs is continually in danger of damaging or even losing her voice if it does not rest on a solid foundation of technical training. It is, however, possible to over-train the voice. The principle behind most vocal regimes is to identify [...]

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. [...]