Early this year, I wrote of some plans for beefing up my ability to effectively read/perform my writing:
I have a three-pronged attack strategy for this: read my stuff out loud to an audience at least four times this year, after having deliberately prepared and rehearsed; memorize a particular prose poem of mine that I (and others, I'm told) like, and prepare it for performance at a slam or slam-like event; and get some acting training.
Here's how it went.

I did read my stuff out loud to an audience. I'm trying to remember exactly how many times. At least two for certain, as there were two performances of Passione Apassionata, a piece conceived by Bernard Leon consisting of staged Handel arias interspersed with some of my poems. It was a really fun piece, and my poems were well received, which was both a tremendous relief and very gratifying. I may have read on other occasions, but I honestly don't remember right now, as I'm still full of last night's Christmas dinner and feeling a distinct lack of motivation to do things like work hard to remember.

I did not memorize the prose poem. Perhaps I will this year. If it lasts for two minutes or so, I may use it to compete in a slam. (I'll be running a slam later this year, as far as I can plan things now, but you shouldn't compete in your own slam. Maybe I'll volunteer to be the sacrificial poet.)

I didn't get formal acting training, but I've now sat through hour after hour after hour of rehearsals for The Death of Albatross, and there are hours more to come. I learned a lot by watching the wholly impressive Chris Beckey direct the show, which is almost like getting training.

Not bad, overall. More yet to do.


At 4:11 AM, Blogger fullsoulahead.com said...

I have my first public reading later this month. Slightly terrified. Any pointers?

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Laura E. Goodin said...

Several pointers!

1. Pick a passage that can stand alone, even if clearly leads on to the rest of the book. It should have some characterization, some plot, some sense of greater meaning that the listeners can take away with them. I usually aim to read for NO MORE THAN 10 minutes.

2. Rehearse. Read it out loud at least once a day, better twice, every single day between now and then.

3. While you're reading, experiment with:

a. Pitch -- where your voice goes high and low. I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS NOT TO READ IN A MONOTONE. (But then, you're a radio professional, so I probably don't even have to say that.)

b. Timing -- where you speed up, where you linger.

c. Volume -- your volume should always be strong, of course, but there may be sentences or words that need an extra push.

4. Rehearse some more. In front of a few people, ideally.

5. Get used to the fact that people WANT to hear you. ENJOY the fact that people want to hear you.

How's that?

At 11:51 AM, Blogger fullsoulahead.com said...

Thank you Laura!

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