The magic of performing

A speech given by GiGi at Toastmasters Sunninghill for her cc2. February 2012

Tonight I am going to talk about the magic of being a performer. Especially doing a one woman show as I do with Nipple caps and G-strings. I played at the Civic theatre for 5 months. Tuesday to Saturday nights. I you think of the nitty gritty. It’s the same story every night to a different audience. If I was a product my tag line would be GiGi…a true performer, in all I do. So there you are waiting in your dressing room. The audience shuffles in. You can hear the laughter, the whispers, and the comments. They are waiting in anticipation…and that what the theatre is about anticipation…waiting for something to happen…and you must feed the beast. They bought their tickets, paid their money and now you must succumb to their expectation. The time is counting down .You check every detail of your make-up while you do a word run. And I do a full word run before every show. On stage you have only one chance not like the movies there is no second take. You know you must concentrate even though you have performed the play a thousand times. Now you wait in the wings. The dusty smell of only a theatre. You warm yourself in the blue lights behind the set. You warm up. Shaking your hand and feet and rolling your head. You must look relaxed. The opening music starts and you take you place on the darkened stage. As the opening music starts you have time for a quick prayer. And the lights go on and it’s you and the audience. This is when you concentrate on your voice. You have to make sure that the back row receives the message crystal clear. And from now on you have to make sure the audience likes you. The first half of the play is 45 minutes and there is nowhere to hide. Sometimes on stage I wished I had rather stuck to dancing as I did for 15 years. Adding your voice makes you so much more vulnerable. As Jean Paul Sartre quotes” Acting is happy agony! “Or as Rosalind Russel said “Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly!”

I July last year I was fortunate to do an evening tour in the oldest theatre in the world the Colosseum in Rome. The building was finished in 80 after Christ. Four storeys with room for 55 000 spectators. The lowest storey close to the area for the prominent citizens. Below the ground was holding cells for slaves ,gladiators and cages containing wild animals that would be the surprise element during the shows and appear in the middle of the arena. There was 1 entrance where the slaves, wild animals and gladiators would enter before the show in the morning. No running water, no food, no toilets. Image the smell. As a slave you had no choice. You did not know when you would be called  or who you fight. You had to to do the performance of a life time. If you lose you would pay with your life. If you win you could walk free. I was in awe of these performers.
Oscar Wilde quoted, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what’s it’s like to be a human being.

I agree with Marius Weyers. One of our best stage actors. It’s lonely being an actor. In the dressing room and on stage. I do not talk to any one before the show or in the dressing room. I must prepare myself for the task at hand….”I have to feed the beast!”

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