Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Guide to performing an author reading on stage

Dear Leanne,
I know you're an introvert and you say you don't like to attract attention.
However, I also know how much you love the stage. Oh, the rush you get when the audience applauds. Especially, when you read your own words--wow!
Since 2006 you've done eighteen author readings--in a variety of venues.
Now, you're preparing to do nineteen and twenty, and I thought this would be a good time to give you a little pep talk and review what you've learnt thus far.

1) Choose an appropriate story
Not all stories translate well onto the stage
Dialogue is tricky
Subtle plot twists will be hard for your audience to follow
Humour is risky--one person's LOL is another's, "what?"
Avoid sex scenes, violence and offensive language. Remember that time you tried to pull off the language thing. Who was sitting in the front row? Yup, mother and child. You skipped the word then and please don't include it now.
Remember, keep your performance under six minutes. Keep your audience wanting more, rather than praying for less.

2)Practice--it's key
practice in front of a full-length mirror
practice with a timer
practice with noise in the background
practice without noise
practice in front of a select audience
do a dress rehearsal--alone and with others
You get the picture...practice until you almost have it memorized--but always have cue cards. You're presenting a reading--after all.

3)The day of your performance get a good night's sleep.

4)Arrive early to the gig.

5)Before you go on, medicate--if necessary.
"Medicate" --that means different things to different people.
You've been known to have a few drops of wine. However, what works best for you is a herbal remedy known as rescue remedy.

6)While on stage focus on having fun.
You're there to entertain--not do heart surgery.
If you make a mistake, try not to let it throw you. The audience won't even notice if you stay calm, cool and collected.

Above all remember, I love and support you.
Your friend,

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