GUEST POST: How to Keep an Over-Practiced Piece Fresh
Half way through the season you have probably performed your piece hundreds of times and practiced it thousands more. By the end of the season you might find yourself completely disconnected to your script and begging your coach to do a new one.
Staying connected to a script is not a new struggle for actors. For those lucky enough to make it to Broadway they can find themselves playing the same part for years, even decades. Here are a few tips to keeping your script fresh, because if you stop caring about your performance, so will the audience.
- Remember the Audience- There is always a fine line in live theatre to recognizing an audience. While your first focus should always be the character(s) that you are portraying, there will always be a part of you that is recognizing when a judge is laughing, crying, or staring at you with a pencil falling out of their mouth. Use the energy of the audience to vary your performance. If they laugh particularly hard at a joke, give yourself a few moments before moving on. The live aspect of each round inherently makes speech team more exciting and fun.
- Use different sense memories- If you are a fan of using sense memory prior to a performance have a few different ones in mind before getting into character. If you take a moment to think about it, there are undoubtedly moments in your life where you have felt the same as the driving character in your piece, but if you use the same one every time you will become numb to it. Have a different sense memory for each round. While you should not be thinking about your sense memory while performing, sometimes it can be the needed push to get you in a place where you feel funny or emotional.
- Practice makes perfect- When you are practicing your piece, never go about it half-heartedly. If you fail to connect to the piece while you are practicing, then chances are you will fail to connect to it while you are performing. Many times we justify this by saying we are just learning the lines, but you are much more likely to remember your lines if you can connect them to feelings. If after all this you still cannot connect to the piece, it may be time to take your own advice and find another.
Clint Snyder is an accomplished playwright with over 50 scripts through various publishers. He recently launched a line of scripts on the SpeechGeek Market called Interp Script House