Guest Author - Dennis Regling
Too many children's performers miss a great opportunity to increase the overall response to their show. They'll hide behind the curtains, waiting for their introduction. They never interact with teir audience and wonder why they can't hold the little ones attention for 45 minutes.
One of my favorite parts of each program is greeting the students as they enter the auditorium. I like to walk among them, shake their hands, and get them excited.
With the "Magic of Science" program, I'll "pull lights" from behind their ears. The little ones love it. I will also take a small hanky, display it, shove it in my fist and ~ viola ~ it vanishes.Then I'll make it reappear in a boys shirt pocket. Sometimes I'm getting applause even before everyone has arrived.
Sometimes I'll go through the audience, asking silly questions. I might ask a boy and girl how long they have been married. Or ask a little one how old they are. "Six." "Sixteen?" "No, six." "Oh sixty?" "No, SIX" "Sixtysix?"
These things can really get the audience ready for the show to come. The students know I'm FUN! And they want to see what happens next.
Nothing is easier than performing for a warm audience. The children no longer see you as something distant, but as a person they are interested in. Someone who makes them laugh.
Sometimes, it is not possible to warm up an audience before the performance. In those instances, I will do something before we start to get them relaxed, laughing and interested.
After the applause dies, I may signal for them to applaud again. Calm them done and then get them clapping a third time. I do this simply with hand gestures. Kids find this bit hilarious.
Another favorite is to tell them my name and then ask them their's. They all yell out their names and I exlain that I couldn't hear them all. I'll have just the girls yell their names, then challenge the boys to be louder. As soon as the boys yell out their names, I'll respond, "Who said SpongeBob Squarepants?" This is always good for laughs. Use whatever character is popular at the time, preferably with a funny name. "Now that we all know each other, let's star."
Use your imagination, but any interaction you can create early with your audience will make your job easier and your show better.
Send me your ideas on how you work with your audiences. Thank you and God bless.