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Mac McConnell

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Drama Tips for your Public Persona
by Mac McConnell   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, March 01, 2008
Posted: Saturday, March 01, 2008

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Mac McConnell

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Dramatizing your public speaking shows your ability to write dynamtic prose.

I recently saw a youth production of Godspell. This was the third time in like 30 years. The first time it was basically over my head. I had no real God conscious going on. The production was fun and the costuming a bit bazaar, bordering on irreverent I heard someone say. The second time the music was old and the message seemed trite. But the version from the youth at First Baptist Church in Ft. Lauderdale was spellbinding, captivating and intoxicating. I've never laugh so hard in a church setting, period. They were innovative at every turn. I walked away wondering why was this presentation so much stronger and impactful than any I have seen?

As a dramatist I have experience some magic moments on stage. Those times when I didn't need the audience's approval, I was in the zone and believing every thing I said and did was as if it was actually happening at that very moment. Those are often fleeting flashes, but I look to achieve them at each presentation. Tucked in that last sentence is one of the biggest acting/performing jewels of advice I could impart to any aspiring or veteran actor. Believing. It is harder for us adults to fantasize so completely as to believe the "lie" you are telling. And most acting is a form of lying. Trying to convince your audience to suspend their disbelief. Hoping the audience will buy what you're selling. To believe what you feel is really what you feel.

The lesson demonstrated by the youth in this production of Godspell is simple. Simple does not mean easy. And it gets a little harder each year as we become more reserved, or just plain lazy. Motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar have perfected it. Actor Meryl Streep is a prime example. They believe what they are saying or doing at the moment they are doing it. Just like the child who ever puts on a make believe cape or mask or cap gun or nurses uniform or whatever. Don't bother to tell that child it isn't real, you are wasting your time and damaging their daydream. Why can a child so convince themselves and act so, well, childish? Because they are not trapped in our cynicism, or ego trip of self-centeredness.

Many actors confess they are shy unless performing. (Unfortunately too many are not.) They just step into their other world and believe. So what? So try it. Just let your self imagine. Then for a moment, however small, you will feel that it is real. Now, I know folks that live in a fantasy world without restraint. That ain't what I'm talking 'bout here. It is possible to control your fantasy trips while abandoned to your moment. Then it is no act at all.


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Reviewed by Susan Phillips 3/1/2008
This makes perfect sense - when I watch actors performing, I can tell the difference between those who have been able to lose themselves in the role and the ones who have worked on acting "technique". I can admire technique, but get caught up with the power of a true "believer's" performance.
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