Performing and pretending to be somebody else can help to push our comfort zones. If we use a costume or props in our performance, this can help us to act in a different way and try out new things with a feeling of playful experimentation. I had a performance of a 1930’s classic, ‘Putting on the Ritz’ and I borrowed a top hat, white tie and tails for the performance and I found it impossible NOT to rise to the occasion. In fact, My dear friend and colleague, Katie Bradbury choreographed movements which I felt comfortable with and I surprised myself. I hadnt planned to do anything like this – I was only going to sing the song with piano accompaniment and this was amazing! It was more enjoyable for all and much better than me on stage trying to NOT look awkward. If I try NOT to look awkward, what do I get…. awkwardness…
One singer was so nervous that she shook at the dress rehearsal. So I asked her to think of what the song was about. She said it was about peaches. So I suggested she buy peaches to give herself something to do on stage. She did so and spent 3 or 4 minutes giving out peaches to people in the audience and selling their properties on stage! I was really impressed! My advice had been taken and run with!
Props and costumes change our thoughts and change our focus. It is difficult not to think about being nervous when we tell ourselves NOT to be nervous. We get what we think about.
Many singers stand rooted to the spot, gripping the mic stand for dear life which looks really tense and instils a sense of tension in the audience. However, we all now how Freddie Mercury used the end of a mic stand as an amazingly expressive prop on stage, using it to play air guitar, using it to help strut about the stage and striking “power poses” with it. This all helped with the performance and emanated and cultivated an air of confidence which we loved. I always remember this gig at wembley in 1986 and even though Freddie’s voice is a little ragged, the confidence is oozing from the stage. What is your prop of choice? What will you try?
God Bless Freddie.