Comedy Acting Techniques for Character Performers, by Colin Underwood. Surprise is vital for character entertainers and…
Colin Underwood, a professional corporate magician from Johannesburg, shares some of his top professional performing tips:
– Communication – What are you trying to say? It is Imperative that the audience knows exactly what you are trying to communicate.
– Keep your story line short and uncomplicated to hold your audience’s attention.
– Many routines are way too long and laborious and without much interest or participation.
– The bigger the show venue the more visual and direct the plots should be. This also applies where the audience are distracted with other elements.
– Overcome distractions and keep control with fast and simpler plots
– Establish a rapport with your audience – by communicating with your audience in their own language – even if it is only a few key phrases and words.
The deliberate mispronunciation of words in the audiences own language, especially by a foreigner has huge comedy potential and if portrayed in a respectful light will further enhance your rapport with the audience.
– I have found one can create rapport by asking where the audience are from and create national pride type feelings from the answer.
In multi-cultural audiences you must ascertain the majority spoken language and then mix other languages into the show.
– In South Africa there are many diverse cultures and learning a third language prevalent to the area you work in can greatly enhance your repeat bookings. Also consider learning key words in sign language for the deaf. A simple greeting of ”hello ”and ”goodbye” as well as ”I love you” will spark huge smiles from those audiences.
– The use of professional sound equipment will enhance and alleviate a difficult show. The volume should be there to enhance and not become aggravating.
– There are many professionals systems on the market. Colin personally recommends Ultimate Control by Happy Amp. You can use sound effects, voices etc. creatively together with audience participation.
– The actual venue will determine the amount of communication that you have with an audience. It is a good idea to discuss first with event organisers and to mutually (with diplomatic suggestions) agree on what would work best for an event.
– The activities prior to your performance will affect your show. Think children’s parties – kids can be too hyper from all the sweets and preservatives. The Bouncy castle is always a distraction and can take focus away from a show.
– Outdoor shows will of course be affected by the weather. Place the audience in the shade, yourself in the sun if neccessary. The weather should be noted and an alternate arrangement might be an option. Strong winds also affect your props.
– Be consistent in brand performance every time. With experience you will get better at it.
– Be prepared before your show, knowing roughly what to expect by asking for as much information as possible before the function, possibly going and checking the venue and then on the day adjusting to unexpected changes or problems.
– Never consider doing the exact same show at every function. Besides even if the venue and most external conditions were the same, you would still have a different audience every time.
Perfection is unobtainable in the performing art but striving for high percentage will result in success with better performances every year.
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