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Forums > Expressive movement / costumes and props > presenting audience with a character vs being natural/yourself.

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railspinner
railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada
Member Since: 8th Oct 2008
Total posts: 99
Posted:This thread is a discussion on the pro's and cons of using a character for public peforming rather then just being yourself.

Im not to familar with theater so Im not sure if that's the right terminology. To elaborate what I mean by putting on a character is either adding a element of drama or comedy or presence to your performance and crowd interaction, vs just being yourself.

I think the pro's and cons would be diffrent for diffrent invididuals. personally I have never done much public performance, but I am more confident with dealing with the public in a casual, natural attitude rather then putting on a act.

But other people may have better stage presence then I do.


The less people know the more they believe

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aston
aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2007
Total posts: 4061
Posted:What about fuel getting between the links? Ever been an issue?

Dentrassi: Am back now, so let me know.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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MRC
MRC

Funky Blessings Daily

Member Since: 17th Jun 2008
Total posts: 215
Posted:For a while I've been interested in making chainmail. It's like knitting with metal!

Chainmail is obviously not going to be flammable, but yeah fuel will easily get through it. I'm not sure what the implications of that might be. You'd need to be concerned about what is under the chainmail, because I would imagine you'd be MUCH harder to put out, and ripping off an item of heavy clothing, so you can get to a burn still in progress, doesn't sound fun.

I'm thinking, chainmail embellishments would probably make an outfit look cooler. Like a leather jacket with chainmail details, maybe a chainmail "trench coat" which can be dropped off the shoulders, and so on.


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aston
aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2007
Total posts: 4061
Posted:Possibly scale mail?

This is getting off topic though....

I think I need to develop a persona of sorts while performing. I think mad whirling dervish would be good to aim for, I am too static and restrained....


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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MRC
MRC

Funky Blessings Daily

Member Since: 17th Jun 2008
Total posts: 215
Posted:A friend also told me that chainmail is prone to VERY fast heating. Since it is clothing made entirely of tiny highly conductive parts, it's not too surprising. As an experienced LARPer she said brief moments in the sun could burn you with chainmail.

My intended character is somewhere between gypsy and clown. I need to acquire more costume components, but the components can become very expensive, very fast due to the simply large amount of material. I also need to experiment with makeup.


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Zazie
Zazie

There Is No Spoon
Location: Brighton
Member Since: 19th Jun 2007
Total posts: 68
Posted:I'm very with what Dentrassi was saying. I think in most cases it's quite hard to distinguish between putting on a character and being yourself in performance, since different characters are usually just different aspects of the same person. For example, if someone says that they're not a very confident person but when spinning can tranform into a super self-assured goddess, it means they're obviously confident in their performance, just not other aspects of themself. You can't pretend to be confident when you're not - the audience with see straight through it.

A street performer who's very cheeky and comical in their act but shy in day to day life is obviously a bit of a cheeky character, but everyone has parts of themselves which can't manifest in everyday life. You could say that someone puts on a character when they go out to a party, which is different to the character they are at home.

I think the problem some people have when they're new to performance, without much stage presence or character, is just down to not letting their personality shine through in whatever way, whether that's because they're concentrated on their moves or they're not confident in their ability, even if they're extremely confident in theselves.


Three years of my life that took. And I get; "... nice."

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TheMovingMan
TheMovingMan

member
Location: Sydney, Australia
Member Since: 11th Feb 2009
Total posts: 14
Posted:
Dentrassi and Zazie, very cool stuff.

Just some really key concepts i discovered. (a lot from doing performance classes at CircusFest, in Tasmania) Might not describe them right, but i'll try. Also, i'll just keep it to character stuff.

1. Honesty in performance. No matter how developed or seemingly separate your character is from yourself, remember that the audience is looking for a CONNECTION, with what they think is you. If the character is just a character, to you, then they'll have nothing substantial to grab onto, and will become disinterested (unless of course it's that incredibly clever). The character is in your head, which means from the moment you conceive of it, it's a part of you. try to find those links between you. Explore them, and explore that other persona/mask (masks only change your face, not you). If you can connect with that character when performing, and show something of yourself, then others will be able to as well.

2. Shep Huntley was teaching street theatre stuff, and said something i found to be really powerful.
"Charisma is the Joy of Being there."
In terms of characters, find one, and a performance style, that you really enjoy. It makes a huge difference. Joy doesn't mean you have to have a grin plastered on your face the entire time, by the way. You can take pleasure from acting out intense sadness, or rage, but again you just have to find that connection to yourself.

3. You don't have to overload the performance to create a particular feel, if that makes any sense. You can be cute, say, without being cutesy. Be expressive, but at the same time minimal.
Stillness is very very important. For spinners and other object manipulators, understandably difficult.

4. Use your whole body, especially the lower half. Sometimes it helps to just try avoid straightening your legs when you work on your character, because that can stiffen your movement and restrict your expressiveness.

By the way, with most of this stuff, it's pretty new to me, and i might not have understood all of it. Also, i've only tried one performance since i learnt, where i tried to implement them.

smile


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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Originally Posted By: TheMovingMan

remember that the audience is looking for a CONNECTION, with what they think is you.

2. Shep Huntley was teaching street theatre stuff, and said something i found to be really powerful.
"Charisma is the Joy of Being there."


Ya know, since you talked with me in Tassy about what Shep said, I think of it whenever I am doing trainings at work, and it's really powerful!
Nice one, Julian!


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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LazyAngel
LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK
Member Since: 29th Jul 2004
Total posts: 2895
Posted:From my somewhat limited experience, I've noticed a couple of things:

1) when not performing a tightly choreographed routine, I tend to engage with the crowd more, at least in terms of talking to them, winking/gesturing at them, using facial expressions, etc. Actually I think I flirt a lot with my audience - mostly because my base performance mode tends to go for smut/comedy + technical tricks (dependent on crowd)

2)When performing a tightly choreographed spinning routine, I tend to focus a lot more on eye contact (because I have to stop myself from checking what the other person is doing)

3) When performing a choreographed fight, I tend to use shouting at the other person as a means of engaging the audience rather than eye contact

However, whenever I perform in front of a crowd, I'm rarely thinking about what I'm actually doing in terms of interaction, and the more I do think about what I'm doing, the more difficult it is to do it.

What seems to really make a difference is using costumes, masks and facepaint. When I'm dressed in my 'normal' clothes, I tend to spin as i would if I were in the park (which is ok, but more boring to watch as a performance). However, additional layers of costume make me feel more comfortable with behaving in ways that I wouldn't normally, and the more unrecognisable I am, the more comfortable I feel.

So ummm, costumes are a comfort blanket?


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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V_Regal
Lost in the Lights
Location: BC, Canada
Member Since: 16th Feb 2009
Total posts: 101
Posted:I wear tighter jeans than usual, and a better looking shirt. Overall, I like to look better busking, and then move ingot the ice cold prince phase. =p Happens to every single dance thing i do.

Hence the Regal.


Risen from the Ashes
The Phoenix shall rise in his royal flaire.
FIND YOUR DESTINY.

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TheMovingMan
TheMovingMan

member
Location: Sydney, Australia
Member Since: 11th Feb 2009
Total posts: 14
Posted:
Yay, Gabe! I'm really glad.

Oh, also, about performing choreography, and well rehearsed vs. improv...

I think it's a personal thing, but Sue Broadway (a fantastic clowning teacher), said that she only ever rehearses to about 80% perfection. For her, she finds that that 20% of 'not knowing' really helps her to be present and aware during her performances, rather than feeling like she's performing a series of movements.

I suppose this sort of spontenaiety is great for street theatre and other forms where you want alot of audience interaction; where there's no 'fourth wall', ie. Clowning.


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MRC
MRC

Funky Blessings Daily

Member Since: 17th Jun 2008
Total posts: 215
Posted:Thinking about this...

It is similar to comedy.

Eddie Izzard for example obviously has pre-written jokes, but he is renowned for the fact that he has no predetermined performance. He simply goes on stage and goes wherever his mind wanders until he runs out of time. This is similar to the style of Robin Williams and in Williams' case if it IS all pre-planned he's still pretty clever for planning things out so fully.

Then you have the likes of Carlin and Lewis Black who have very precise routines with carefully designed transitions.

Both work, but I am the sort of person who likes a framework to improvise with.

I just thought the examples were worth pointing out.

Oi-dit:
Forgot where I was going with this exactly.

Yeah, so I like have a predetermined character etc. I like to know exactly who I am supposed to be to the audience and then work within that to engage them. Sometimes it's much easier to react than to script good material.

EDITED_BY: MRC (1236713490)


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