So, in the last post I wrote that I wasn’t comfortable with interactive theater yet. At the time I wrote it I had had one really good show, and wasn’t sure if it was just a fluke or not. Well, since then I have had two more dinner theaters, and they have both been loads of fun! I don’t know what happened, but I’m glad it did. I was getting worried that this was something I’d never enjoy, that it would be the first performing experience that I wouldn’t master. I guess I was wrong!
I have been trying to learn from the more experienced actors around me, like I did when I performing in Sylvia.
1) I have been taking more time to figure out things about my character. Since the actual script doesn’t encompass all, or really even half, of what you will say all night, you’re free to make up a back story for your character. Taking cues from the script, and then running with it. And if for some reason another actor discounts what you said about yourself, so much the better. It will make one of you look guilty.
2) Pay attention to the guest characters and how they can help you. We, the actors, are given the situation of the characters given to some of the guests. The guests don’t know however. I’ve been working out how they relate to my character, so when I come into a room I have at least something to say to that person. If a room is quiet, it’s a good way to get people going.
3) Figure out random things to say. This is good for me, since improvising right in the moment is difficult for me. Having not taken classes, I’m not sure if this is how other actors do it as well. This really worked with the last show I did, since my character was insane. If a guest was pestering too much on a subject and I wanted distract, I would just say one of the random phrases I had come up with. For example “my cat likes to chase butterflies under the water.” The guest of course asked “where is your cat?” And I respond “yes,” as in my cat’s name was Where. Would have worked with “What’s your cat’s name?” as well. And then that “who’s on first” sequence went round and round for a while. It was perfect!
With a few strategies to get going, I now am having a much better time. Hopefully I can get into the dinner theater in my new town once I move. I’ve been told I’m funny, which is easy when you’re playing a crazy person. But still, I never thought of myself as funny. I wonder what more there is out there that I can do…