Newbie requests advice

Questions:  I'm about to do my first show in November. I have your 30 Lesson Maher Course and completed the exam for the first 15 Lessons.  I will do the rest in a month.  I am still feeling nervous. I feel I have a good grasp on the voice , but need to be a able to sell it. Only a hand held mike available and very small stage with no curtains. Any advice on a way to not feel so nervous and prepare? Should I have Sammy on my knee or on a stand?  Pip
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From Mr D:  The first show is the most difficult, I believe.  Be sure you know your routine well.  Is there an off stage hall or room from which you can enter when announced?  If so, use it to prepare before entrance.  Enter with a smile on your face and give the appearance of enjoying yourself.  Enthusiasm is catching.  If there's any way to use a lapel mike, or if the hand held mike could be placed into a mike stand, that would be preferable to your having to hold it.  And I would recommend a stand for Sammy.  That enables you to stand on both feet and you can actually shift your own weight during the show which I believe you will find more relaxing, providing bonus confidence. 

I will send you the book, Conquering Stage Fright.  And perhaps there are vents reading this who will want to add their supportive tips and comments. 


  1. Hi Pip. Congratulations on your first show! Something I do before I go on stage: take small sips of water in the minutes before you go on. Nerves can tighten your throat, the sips of water will help keep it relaxed and lubricated. Remember, the audience *wants* to enjoy your show. If you come out anticipating a fun time they will be right there with you. I agree with Clinton's advice regarding the stand. I find standing seems to engage an audience more, and allows you greater freedom of movement. Although if it is a group of children sometimes sitting is better so you don't seem so tall and Sammy is able to be closer to them. I hope it all goes well!

  2. I would suggest to memorize your show so completely that if someone gave you a word in the show you could pick right up and continue the dialogue. I would also suggest video tapping yourself when you are practicing your show as you would present it. You should then watch your show 20-30 times until you are totally sick of watching it. At this point you will start to get great ad libs and ideas on how to enhance your show.

  3. Anonymous10/12/2012

    Makes me nervous thinking about it. Pin list of jokes key words on dummy's sleeve. LeeDean

  4. P. Grecian10/12/2012

    Yep. The secret is preparation. Know your material cold. That way you won't worry about forgetting what you're going to say. Have a couple of adlibs in your mental pocket if you need 'em for audience control...but have Sammy say 'em.

    Do NOT worry about what you're going to say NEXT. Stay in the moment. If your material is memorized, the next thing will come when it's time.

    Knowing your material cuts about eighty percent of your nervousness.

    Be aware of your physicality as well as Sammy's. Am I standing funny? Are Sammy's feet crooked? Am I saying "um" too much?
    Relax physically before you go on. Chase out any tight muscles. Once onstage, be aware of those tightnesses and chase 'em off. If you're physically relaxed, your brain will say to itself, "Hey, he's relaxed. I'll relax as well." Physical to mental. You can't do it the other way around. Works like a charm.
    Be aware of your audience. Look at them, don't close them off. You'll notice they're having fun. Once you notice THAT, you'll have fun, too.

  5. Anonymous10/13/2012

    Hi Pip, I remember one of my first shows - completely forgot where I was up to - oh dear - but the amazing thing that happened was that my puppet friend kept talking - yep, stops and starts but eventually we found our place and got going again. Also a friend happened to tape the show and I timed the slip up - it was only seconds (it seemed MUCH longer to me) and in speaking to others afterwards they hadn't noticed that I'd forgotten anything - amazing!. In summary there's every chance that your puppet friend will bail you out if you have trouble (strange but true) and should you have a forgetful moment try to remember that it only seems like forever to you and theres a strong likelihood that no one will even notice - in other words relax, try to "laugh off" those tough moments but most of all enjoy!!