Before you Open the Stage Door

by Steve Kissell

Five, four, three, two, one, IT'S SHOWTIME!...But wait, hold everything, have you ever observed the concert pianist rehearsing, the lead guitarist tuning an instrument, or the track star stretching before an event? They all have something in common. Can you guess what it is? PREPARATION.

Have we stretched our bodies in all areas so that if we take a spill or slip we do not injure ourselves? Have we stretched our vocal cords? To do that simply tilt your head back and sound out vowels and various words to warm up the voice box. Have you had some water to drink before the performance? Remember to bring your own bottled water.

A good entertainer will utilize recent local news along with the name of the organization sponsoring the event. Perhaps a few names can be memorized ahead of time. Jot a few down and put them in your performing case where you will be able to see them. Your audience loves a performer who can personalize an event. They will be impressed that you took the time to know where you are and that makes them feel that your performance is not a standard or stock one but a special event geared toward them. For example, you may mention the fact that the city just received an award or perhaps a new leader. Or you may want to focus on what item or event that area is famous for. Of course, sport teams and their records are always some favorites to mention. Just be sure to be kind and not too insulting.

Another important task before opening the stage door is what is called the "show glow." That is who you are and how you act before and after the performance. Are you meeting other performers and members of the audience before the presentation? "Show glow" is a simple smile or warm feeling that people observe and remember about you. They do not wish to see someone worried, rushed or abrupt to them. Chill out as they say, enjoy the journey and know that first impressions really do count. So do your best, and remember that you are always on and above all . . . the microphone is NEVER off.

Before opening the stage door, be prepared by considering the following items. * Carry a small handkerchief in case of emergencies, such as cuts, or other surprises. Include this in your entertainer emergency kit. It should contain paperclips, black markers, flesh colored adhesive strips, super glue, black tape and the like. Each of these items will come in handy in stage emergencies.

* When possible, do your homework before hand.
* Pack additional performing material. You never know when you might be asked to fill in for an unexpected or extended amount of time. Are you prepared for a well-deserved encore? Will you be ready? Just imagine what a great help and relief to the conference producer you would be!
* Do you know approximately how long each routine lasts?
* Have you practiced your timing?
* Have you checked to see if you need any extension cords?
* What kind of microphone are you using and do you know how to operate it? * Who is introducing you? Do you have your intro prepared?
* What about the lighting? Have you marked the floor where the audience will be able to see you? * What kind and color of backdrop are you performing in front of? You should be wearing a contrasting color so that you don't appear as a floating head.

Your last bit of preparation before entering the stage is to pray. Remember to thank God for the great job that you are about to do. Thank Him for the joy of laughter and wonder that you are about to bring to that very special audience! Now, open the door and break a leg!
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Reprinted by permission: www.FamilyEntertainersWorkshop.com , www.ClownJam.com and www.ClownVegas.com

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