First impressions are important. How we present ourselves to others forms the basis of their opinion of us. If your first appearance on stage is accompanied by a weakly delivered line, your audience's opinion of you will plummet. It's important to remember to warm up your voice before each performance so this doesn't happen.
Find your abdomenTo really project on stage, you have to speak from your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is located in the area just under your ribs on the front of your body. Place your hands on this area and take a deep breath. You should feel your hands move as you breathe in.
Release your jaw
Your jaw does a lot of work when you speak. Make sure you're as relaxed as possible before beginning a performance! Push gently on your cheeks with the heel of your hands just below the jawline. Draw your hands down to your chin, then start back at the top massaging your jaw muscles. Allow your mouth to gently open while doing this exercise.
Using a straw while practicing your range
Practicing your vocal range will warm up your voice so you're ready to deliver any line. Place a straw between your lips and make a low 'oo' sound. Slowly raise the pitch of the sound. Begin as low as you can and go as high as you can. This exercise is supposed to reduce any swelling around your vocal chords.
Trill your lips
Trilling your lips will relax your mouth. With your lips gently closed, blow air through them while making the 'uh' sound. Allow your lips to vibrate together as the air is released.
Humming is a great way to warm up your voice or cool it down after a performance. Close your lips and relax your jaw. Inhale through your nose and let your breath out in a hum. Start with a nasal sound, then move the sound down through the lower part of your register. This exercise vibrates your lips, teeth, and facial bones.
Stretch your tongue
Press your tongue against your palate, then stick it out of your mouth. Press it against one cheek, then the other. Place the tip of your tongue behind your bottom lip and fold the rest of your tongue out of your mouth, then fold your tongue backward with the tip on your palate. Repeat 10 times. This helps articulation.
Begin slowly and increase the speed of tongue twisters. Focus on those you have problems saying. Tongue twisters help your enunciation on stage.
By doing these exercises before you perform, your voice will be ready to capture your audience from your very first word of dialogue.
by Michelle Tan
It has been more than a month since the auditions and the cast was finally chosen for the upcoming REST play – Check Please by Jonathan Rand. If you’re not familiar with Check Please, the entire play is based out of disastrous first dates, some of which you may even relate to!
Our resident director, Thomas, also introduced our second Act, Pup’s Holiday by Dana (last name), a comedy about deceit, a not-quite elaborate con and erectiestoornissen! Pup’s Holiday, however, had limited female roles and it’s almost a Battle Royale between the victorious auditionees (who are mostly female…alas). We’re almost looking forward to the bloodshed, sweat and tears (from laughter, of course!).
It was great to see everyone there. There were, as usual, loads of fun and laughter. With talented, fresh, new blood to boost!
We’ll be keeping you updated from time to time on our rehearsals with pictures to boost. Do follow us and watch this space. Oh, and if you’re looking to get involved with stage design, stage management and help out with sound and lightning, do hit us up! We could use volunteers!
Actors sometimes get caught up in their dialogue: memorizing the lines, delivering them one way or another, etc. Never forget that the majority of actual human communication comes from body language, not words! Here's three tips to help you use your body language on stage to communicate the story:
Using a 'Launch Stance'
One of the most difficult things an actor is asked to do on stage is simply to stand there, saying nothing. Suddenly, you don't know how to stand or what to do with your hands. Using a launch stance is helpful in this situation. A launch stance is a relaxed and confident pose that claims your space on the stage. Keep your arms loose, your hands unclenched, and relax your shoulders. By doing this, your body immediately says to the audience: Yes, I am someone in this play; notice me.
Lean for Power
Leaning into someone's personal space bubble is an effective nonverbal move in several situations. People lean towards each other to show interest and compassion. But this can also be used to intimidate others, and in the right setting a simple lean towards a fellow actor can convey a bullying or overpowering relationship. Used effectively, it's a great comedic tool, too.
Gaze with Purpose
It's a natural reaction to look at someone who's speaking to us. Remember this while on stage! Not looking at a fellow actor when they're speaking can show disagreement, anger, disgust, or self doubt. Use your eye contact skills to give your character real depth.
By using these three simple tools, you'll be able to convey the story without words. Your audience will understand your character and your motivations, and your cast will really bring the story to life!
A microexpression is that fleeting, involuntary facial expression that appears on people's faces when they experience emotions. They often happen as fast as 1/15 to 1/25 of a second. It's one of the most difficult things to master as an actor, but if you can manage to do it you'll be able to pull off a sterling performance.
There are seven universally recognized microexpressions. These are:
Disgust microexpressions include a raised upper eyelid, lower lip raised, nose wrinkled, cheeks are raised, wrinkles show below the lower eyelid. Think about smelling something bad to get this look correct.
Anger microexpressions include eyebrows are lowered and drawn together, vertical lines between eyebrows, lower lid is tensed, eyes are staring or bulging, lips pressed firmly together, nostrils dilated, lower jaw juts out.
Fear microexpressions include forehead wrinkles in the center between the brows, eyebrows raised and drawn together, upper eyelid is raised but lower is tense and drawn up, whites of eyes shown above iris but not below, open mouth with tense lips.
Sorrow microexpressions include inner corners of the eyebrows are drawn in and then up, skin below eyebrows looks like a triangle with inner corner up, corner of lips are drawn and down, jaw comes out, lower lips pouts.
Joy microexpressions include corners of lips are drawn back and up, mouth may or may not be parted with teeth exposed, a wrinkle from outer nose to upper lip, cheeks are raised, lower eyelid may show wrinkles, crow's feet near outside of eyes.
Surprise microexpressions include raised and curved eyebrows, horizontal wrinkles across the forehead, eyes are wide open showing the white above and below the iris, jaw drops open.
Contempt microexpressions include one side of mouth raised.
Microexpressions are most often used by actors when other characters are speaking on stage. Your character is reacting to what they're hearing from other characters; this is where micro expressions play an important part in your performance. Ignore them, and you'll appear flat and static on stage. Use them, and you'll have the audience understanding and following your every move.
Here's a great online article that includes example photos of each microexpression: https://www.scienceofpeople.com/microexpressions/.
Body language is crucial to an outstanding performance. As an actor, it's your job to master your space. Get to know and understand 'personal space bubbles'. These vary culture to culture and person to person, but in general there are four distinctions:
Intimate space is close enough to reach out and touch or kiss someone. We generally reserve this space for family, lovers, and very close friends. Crossing into someone's intimate space when you're not intimate with them is an aggressive move. On stage, this means that you should, in general, stand close to your character's partner or spouse. Subtle non verbal cues (i.e., touching your partner on their back or arm) is often part of this close space bubble. Use the taboo of crossing the intimate space bubble when you want to dominate, intimidate, and manipulate your fellow characters.
Personal space is the most common space bubble zone we use. You can easily reach out to shake hands with someone and the distance makes conversation easily heard. We use this space when talking to friends or colleagues. It's also a space bubble used at parties and other social gatherings. A first meeting would definitely fall into this category. Entering someone's personal space bubble is a request to talk with you.
Social space is often used with people whom you feel are not a threat but you don't really want to interact with them. Parties, networking events, and large events fall into this category. You can notice this space bubble when looking at a room filled with people. Generally, you'll see small groups emerge in the crowd. These are the social circles; people who know each other or who want to know each other. Moving into someone's social space is a request to be noticed, and is most often used when flirting.
Public space is used with total strangers, particularly when you're unsure of the outcome of the situation. This space bubble leaves enough room between you and other people to make use of your fight or flight mechanism. You have the opportunity to see the other person's entire body, their hand gestures and posture, giving you a chance to 'read' them before you interact with them. Fight scenes often begin in a public space bubble.
Knowing and making use of these space bubbles on stage will give your performance depth and a true sense of reality.
There are a number of things an actor can do to prep for rehearsals. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your rehearsal time!
Read the Play - Read the entire script, front to end. Don't focus on your character or lines, just get a feel for the overall play.
Prepare your Script - While it's easy these days to try and work with a script in digital form, it's best if you print up a copy. This way, you can take notes during each rehearsal. Take the time to run a highlighter over your dialogue lines - but don't highlight the stage directions. They're apt to be modified a bit to fit the venue you'll be in. Post-it tabs are a great tool to mark the beginning of each of your scenes so they're quick and easy to find.
Script Analysis - Think about building your character. This is a process you'll work with your director on, but the more ideas you bring to the rehearsals, the better. Understanding your character's motivations is important to bring the play to life.
Look at the Production Schedule - Make sure your personal agenda is up to date with all your meetings and commitments. Check to ensure you can make each rehearsal. If you see a scheduling problem, tell the director right away. Give your team time to change things around so everyone is present when you're needed.
Be early - Rehearsal time is valuable, not just for you but also for all the people working on the project. Come 10 minutes early to get your hello's out of the way so your rehearsal time is used for rehearsing, not catching up with your fellow actors.
Remove all distractions - Turn off you phone and other devices. Forget about the problem at work, or in your personal life. You are no longer you once rehearsals begin. Give yourself a little time to warm up before each rehearsal, too. It will help to focus your mind on your role.
Bring your agenda - Rehearsal scheduling can change; be ready to discuss when you're available!
Clothing - Wear loose and comfortable clothing, and shoes that don't restrict your movement.
Bring your script and analysis - It should seem obvious, but it's easy to forget your script if you head out early in the day. Remember to bring your analysis, too. As you work through the scenes, you can have your analysis close at hand so you can easily reference it.
Pencils and erasers - Expect changes. Don't bother using a pen; you'll end up with a mess on your script. Pencils are easier!
Be ready to have fun and be open to all ideas about your character. You'll get the most out of your rehearsals!
"Comedy can't be taught."
Maybe that's true, but there are certain elements any actor can use to turn an amusing scene into a hilarious scene. Comedy uses certain recurring elements; figure out what devices are being used - or may be used - in the scene, and you'll have your audience rolling in the aisles. Here are some common elements to think about in your next comedic role:
Tonight is the last night of auditions. Don't worry; there's still time! Email REST at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know you'll be attending. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Time: 19:30.
I had an opportunity to meet the group last night. What a wonderful bunch of talented people! I'm truly excited to see so many new faces and hear everyone's backstory. The enthusiasm in the air was infectious, and I was sad to have to leave due to an early appointment - but I'm really looking forward to working on this production.
Now's the time to let us know you want to be involved. We need help backstage, too, so let us know what you'd have fun doing!
Auditions are almost here! REST is holding open auditions on Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April, 19:30. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Please email us at email@example.com to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know what night you'll be attending.
Every actor needs to warm up their mouth before performing. If English is your second (or third, or fourth!) language, this is especially important. Stage actors need to be very clear in their enunciation; otherwise, the story gets lost. So here's a link to 50 tongue twisters to improve your English and get you ready for Tuesday and Wednesday!
50 Tongue Twisters to Improve your English
One short week to REST auditions! Email us at 010englishspeakingtheatre.gmail to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know what night you'll be attending. Set your devices to remind you: Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April, 19:30. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam.
If you're already feeling butterflies in your stomach, you're not alone. Nerves hit everyone, even the most seasoned actors. So, here are a few tips to help you stay calm during the upcoming week and on the night:
Above all, remember we all want to have fun. See you on Tuesday 2 April or Wednesday 3 April!