First Show

From Maher Student: I performed tonight. I think the 25 kids that were there, and 3 adults, thought it was very entertaining. I checked out the room in the church earlier today and set up my stand and PA system (the Florida Magic system with rechargeable battery). I used a clip on microphone attached to my lapel.

In high school and college, I was heavily into drama. I also stage managed community theater while I was in residency. Working with a vent figure has been a whole new experience; the figure has taken a life of his own and has quipped insults at me totally unplanned!

The jokes that I thought would get laughs got no laughs from the kids; the wisecracks from the dummy done by total improvisation got them roaring a couple of times. The Bible message, from Luke 9:23 where Jesus says for us to deny ourselves and take up our cross, well it was preachy, but I directed it at the dummy. So it went over all right.

I then unexpectedly finished sooner than I planned. There was unexpected feedback a few times from the speaker; I decided to invite the kids to ask questions. When it was over, I got medium applause, and more outbursts from kids requesting to touch and play with the figure. At which point I made my exit, taking the figure to a side room and carefully packing him into the new case.

I know this is going to be a great adventure. I need so much more practice and performance opportunities. Best Wishes, Roland

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From Mr. D: Every performance, program, and show is a learning experience. You are amazing in the amount of time and effort you put into your preparation, but you will be rewarded in abundance for doing so. Laughter extends the program time. But as you know, programs with a message generally have a bit less laughter and can go more quickly.

Question and answer sessions can be beneficial, but kid's can get quite silly trying to one-up the dummy (or you) so you'll need to maintain tighter control. I would add that I advise against allowing children to touch or shake hands with the dummy...that can spur multiple negative consequences (and I think I've experienced them all!).

When I gave a program in church, 5-10 minutes was the maximum I liked to perform with one character. Then I would do some visual lesson/effect (magic, etc.), or bring in a second character.

Professional ventriloquist entertainers keep the show moving with ever changing bits/characters/songs, etc. If you've watched the act of pros (Dunham, Fator etc.) you've noticed how they skillfully keep the ongoing show fresh, new, and variety filled.

The first show is the most challenging, I believe. And very enlightening. This is just the beginning of some great experiences for you. All the hours of preparation and hard work you are investing will bring results and rewards. Enjoy.


  1. Des Bradley3/26/2011

    Jokes get no laughs ! But the audience would be absorbed with your performance. Don't let lack of laughs dishearten you. Just plug along. My audience of aged people sit and watch intently without laughing much. But later they come up and talk enthusiastically about the puppet.

  2. That's absolutely correct what Des wrote.
    Plus: your first performance's, you are very aware and 'watching' what you are doing. There you are standing with a puppet in front of an audience. Later you get aware that there is a character and there is you. Then the show is realy starting.

  3. I agree, I think you need to develop a personality to your charactor, and adapt it to your own as if you are two seporate beings, as then it would be more realistic and effective to both the performance and to the audiences view of the performance. I hope to learn this craft, I have been taking tiny steps, but I think I have been broadening the distence between them, as I have leat a lot threw this Blog and all who is part of this Ventriloquist family, thanks, all, Bill Duff