Here are Richard Evans’ tips to make your mark and maximise your impact before, during and after your showcase.
original in your choice of pieces. You’re more likely to keep the
audience’s attention by choosing speeches that they may not know or
don’t see all the time (you’ll find some useful advice on doing this on
pages 114-119 of Richard’s book).
that the character(s) in the piece(s) you choose are suitable for you
as you are castable now, and are performable in your natural accent.
Avoid 'acting' and being what you're not. Go for a shorter piece, leaving the audience wanting more… rather than less. Choose
something that will create an impact. Something upbeat and possibly
comedic is more likely to do this than a speech that’s serious or
you’re doing a duologue or scene, make sure the characters are easily
distinguishable (duologues with people of the opposite sex are great),
so that the attention is more on you than working out who’s who in the
who has been invited and make personal contact with those prople you
know personally, or especially want to see you, about 2 weeks before the
showcase – several invitations can be better than one. Ask
to check the programme and running order before they go to print, to
ensure your name is spelt and displayed correctly and the details of
your piece(s) are correct. Make sure you’ll be dressed to give an idea of the part(s) that you’ll be playing and wearing something memorable.
you’re word perfect and have rehearsed thoroughly with everyone you are
performing with (finding a few extra minutes before the audience comes
in, if necessary). Be confident with what you’re going to perform and give your all. Techniques for combating nerves are discussed in Chapter 11. Make yourself memorable and stand out. Make the stage your own, take your time and don’t forget to breathe. Above all, enjoy what you do – if you don’t, the audience won’t!
that guests may have to get back to their offices, sometimes before the
performance ends, so won’t stay to chat. Don’t take this personally. If
they are interested, they’ll make contact with you afterwards. When
meeting audience members after the showcase, retain your memorability
by looking exactly how you did onstage, rather than changing your
clothes and appearance. Don’t linger backstage. Get straight out there, before people lose interest and leave. Avoid
asking questions such as ‘Did you enjoy the show?’, or for feedback or
opinions on your performance, as negative responses may well knock your
confidence. A far better opener is ‘Thank you for coming’, which isn’t
confrontational, puts people at ease and is more likely to lead to
yourself and try to be subtle when asking someone’s name and what they
do, being sure to remember this information accurately. Project
your personality and ensure you have things to talk about. Talking to
people who have nothing to say for themselves leads to silences and can
be awkward, like an incompatible first date. If you can bring topics
other than ‘The Business’ into the conversation, all the better. If
nobody’s talking to you, pick up a tray of food and offer it around.
This is a great way to start up conversations, but be careful not to
intrude on existing ones. If
you're chatting to your fellow performers, talk in a small group (2 or 3
people), rather than a large one. If someone is only interested in
talking to one of you, it’s far easier for them to approach a few people
than a great many. Judge
when a conversation is coming to a natural end (though don’t terminate
it yourself) and ask if there’s anyone with whom they would like to be
introduced. If so, find that person, make the introduction and say
goodbye, leaving them promptly. Ensure
you are given a list of those who attended and send them a card or
letter a few days after the showcase, thanking them for coming and
asking them to keep you in mind for the future.
that nobody is going to sign you up there and then – if anyone does try
to do this, treat it with caution and seek the advice of your tutors or
director before signing anything.
A showcase is simply there for you to be seen and evaluated by members of the Industry.They
are a good point of reference, or a reminder if people have seen or met
you before, and may lead to work or representation – either now or in
the future.Enjoy it and see what happens!
There is now a chapter devoted to showcases which contains more insight and in-depth information in the book.