stagekraft

Improvisation: Language Beyond Words

By |2019-09-13T19:01:38-04:00October 25th, 2017|Acting, 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 [...]

Oh Sweet Desire, You Know How I Hate to Practice

By |2019-09-15T16:10:39-04:00February 23rd, 2017|Stagecraft|

I've never been good at practicing. I like to be good at something quickly, and if I'm not good at something quickly, I don't like doing it. So I put it away, for awhile. Or forever. Such has been the fate of tennis, baking, sewing and tap-dancing, to name a few. The blame seems to fall squarely on the shoulders [...]

Edge Play: Creating Art that Challenges

By |2019-09-13T19:15:24-04:00January 30th, 2017|Acting, 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 [...]

Channel Magic

By |2019-09-16T11:55:38-04:00May 9th, 2014|Stagecraft|

You've got to find some way of saying it, without saying it. - Duke Ellington In cabaret, I've experienced enormous freedom. I've lived moment-to-moment for an hour at a time, using anything that comes up in myself and offering that to my musicians and my audience. The result of my dipping into my own emotional palette is that others dip into [...]

Harmony is for the Birds

By |2019-09-16T16:22:25-04:00January 23rd, 2014|Singing, Stagecraft|

Let's face it: some music is really hard on the ears! I don't mean the noise that's out there, I mean the real and serious music. What makes music rough is this beautiful, unstable and highly useful thing called dissonance. In a dissonant chord, the notes aren't aligned harmonically and so the sound is tense and unpleasant. But dissonance [...]

Don’t show us, let us find it

By |2019-09-13T17:08:50-04:00November 24th, 2013|Acting, 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 |2019-09-16T12:15:26-04:00November 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 [...]

Starting Over Midstream

By |2019-09-16T12:04:10-04:00March 16th, 2013|Stagecraft|

I witnessed something beautiful the other night in an intimate room here in Manhattan...an error so seamlessly handled as to go almost unnoticed. The singer was turned slightly away from her audience, looking off stage left and sharing a duet with her bassist at the opening of a tune. Their dialogue was sparse and sensual and then, nearly a [...]