Being on stage requires a lot of dedication, not just in creating your act, rehearsing and then rehearsing some more… it’s about giving extra and paying attention to all the details all of the time… Here’s a few things that often get over-looked, as a check list.
Have you rehearsed your act enough? the fact that you are even asking means no. There can never be enough rehearsals. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can cheat your way on to the stage without a solid and flowing act. you can’t. Unless you want to be laughed at (in a bad way) by the audience and never to be booked again by the promoter. Best to go on stage with an act that you know better than the back of your hand and a confident and knowing smile that will project out to the audience. You will enjoy yourself more…
Do you know how to use your prop? Sounds an obvious question, but how you hold an item, how it moves, how believable it is all come into question when you are on the stage – especially with things like fans and isis wings. You need to know how to use these things before you insert them into an act and be prepared to practise (again, that word!) a lot with the item so it looks like an extension of you and what is in your heart, rather than something you threw in there to make up time in your choreography or to hide behind…
Polished costume / make-up
Never be tempted to do things on the cheap or quick, you will look rubbish – after all, who wants to see someone on stage with a costume held together with tape and hope? Or worse – someone who looks like they’ve just rolled off the bus. Take time for your make-up and think about the image you are projecting. We cannot state this enough, costume pieces bought ‘off the peg’ in places like Primark or the local joke shop / ann summers will not make you look like a professional. It’s okay to buy off the peg, but customise, customise, customise. There are ways you can do this cheaply, like using necklaces and jewelry taken apart and sewn on, etc. NEVER glue costume pieces EVER. This just looks absolutely rubbish. Your costume will not have the polished finish and the fabric will be stiff and not free-flowing. We know sewing takes time but it is worth it, and besides any glued areas (especially with a glue gun, where you can’t control the glue flow and end up with stretch glue trails across your costume) on underwear is a massive NO! bluntly, it looks like gizz or other stains and is just horrible.
Please, cut out any labels. You could be doing a totally beautiful movement but the audience won’t be looking at your wonderful hands, they will be looking at your label sticking out the back. Labels are distraction.
If you are wearing tights as part of your costume, check the waistband of is not higher than your pants. If it is, cut the waistband off and take time to pull the tights back under your pants. Or get some show pants with a higher waist or some kind of belt that will hide the gap. Also, if you are wearing pants below pants, check they are not hanging out. We always opt for a nude (safety) thong under costume pants… Please don’t wear white as when flash cameras go off, it will be visible.
Always check you have the best quality of your track burned onto the best quality CD (burn a new one every time you do a show as relying on a scratched up CD is not acceptable to any producer). Make sure it is an AUDIO FILE and not an mp3 file and check it plays on audio equipment – after all, no track=no act and no producer will be happy if you have to mess up their bill by dropping out last minute as you’ve brought the wrong kind of CD…
In the dressing room
always be polite – that goes from interacting with other performers to interacting with the producer and venue staff. Always ask – never borrow or assume without doing this, never invite anyone backstage, its not fair on other performers, and the golden rule: NEVER EVER slag off the show you are performing at / the venue staff / stage maid / etc, etc in front of others or even in the venue. If the show has been a let down / tech staff have messed up your act / there was a performer on the bill you didn’t like (etc, etc) bite your lip and carry on. you can always debrief after and away from the event.
This goes without saying… All your hard work has built up to this moment… Give it more than your all. you don’t want to walk off thinking you could have done better, it’s better to walk off thinking that you gave it your best.
I was going to but… I tried but… etc etc… No excuses ever! Excuses mean you’ve not given it your all. Excuses are a gentler way of saying you didn’t do any of the above, and if you believe any of your own excuses, then you shouldn’t be getting on stage in the first place…