Keeping Your Energy Up

Posted on 07 September 2009

One of the most crucial aspects of performance is keeping your energy up. I’m not saying that you have to have an upbeat hyper persona, just a powerful presence that galvanises people’s attention.  I have seen perfectly good jokes fall flat because the performer’s energy went flat. Here’s a list of things you can do to improve your energy.

* Eat and drink only low GI foods before a show.

The last thing you want is a sugar crash or after meal drowsies part of the way through your performance. So either eat low GI or make sure to take a cookie with you on stage.

* Wear clothes that are comfortable.

This will keep you from unneccessarily expending energy on tugging at waistbands or having your mind drift off onto how your toes are being crushed by your pointy shoes.

* Allow yourself to be seen and heard.

I’ve seen far too many performers wanting you to laugh at their jokes, but hiding themselves by wearing dark clothes, shuffling back and forth, standing far back on the stage, looking away from the audience, etc. You diminish yourself and your performance this way by withholding your visible energy. The same is true of perfomers who mumble or speak in a low voice, they are withholding their auditory energy.

* Allow yourself to be uncool and vulnerable.

You are a comedian. Comedians are all about sending up the cool people of the world. Comedians are all about reminding people of their humanity. If you are afraid of looking like a dork, then you are in the wrong industry. Let your dorkiness hang out. Let people laugh when you make mistakes. Anxiety from misplaced self-consciousness and insecurity will rob you of your stage presence.

You need make no apologies for yourself. And that is cool.

* Be 100% committed to everything you do, even if it fails.

Only one real sin exists in entertainment and that’s being boring. Children and animals tend to upstage the adults because they are so completely intent on what they are doing that they draw everyone’s attention. They are not boring. The energy of a pure line of intention is mesmerising to people. They want to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what will become of your efforts. With intention alone you have already built an affective story.

* Get yourself psyched.

This is where you can hop from foot to foot. Just before going on stage jump, dance around, wriggle your body and chant, “It’s gonna be great, it’s gonna be great.” Anything that will start your energetic engine pumping.

* Ground your energy and stay focussed.

With the engine pumping it’s now time to drive the energy forward in a single pure line where it will have the most impact, right toward your audience. Set your feet solidly on the ground shoulder width apart, take a deep breath, smile, then get going.

* Believe your audience is basically friendly.

I know I’m repeating myself with a number of these, but they are important. Have faith in your audience. See them as a bunch of friends and family at Uncle George’s barbeque, people you are so comfortable with that you don’t mind behaving like a bit of a loon. Who ever cared if you farted at one of those events? Imagine yourself in the same situation.

* Have fun with what you are doing.

If you are having a good time, your energy will be bright, infectious, and your audience will love it. Otherwise, what are you doing in comedy?

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


2 responses to Keeping Your Energy Up

  • Hello Katherine: It was a pleasureable bit of synchronicity to meet you last night; thank you for your encouragement.

    Your website is excellent. There is an extensive amount of information for comedians and potential comedians. The advice is practical and, from my perspective, accurate. I look forward to reading your publications in the future and i’m sure I’ll see you around town.

    Kind regards,
    matthew

  • Although from a physiology perspective I agree with the low GI bit, I must admit to indulging in several coke’s before a performance…superstition i think.

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