Friday, February 09, 2007

Tonight was the big musical talent show on campus. We had some very game contestants and a hopelessly partisan audience, who showed their unreserved support for their favourites, no matter what.

While the audience will always remember the judges' comments as truthful but insensitive (and that's not really my story to tell), for me I was looking at the overall presentation of the show, and I think another week's preparation and rehearsal time was necessary if we were to give everyone a fighting chance to win.

A week's prep would give time for the contestants to get advice on their performance and to get some stage experience, instead of just being handed a mike and shoved onstage to sing in front of a highly animated crowd. As it is, the performer's energy has to top the audience's otherwise it can get quite intimidating there on stage.

1 week and those of us staff with some performing experience might have had the time to give the contestants a few pointers that would up their stage-presence and confidence a little.

So performing cold, they made rookie mistakes like not finding the light, being stiff and unsure of their gestures and traffic patterns, hiding their faces, turning their backs to and/or retreating from the audience, and so on. My usual bugbears. Though these aren't things that our audience would actually pay attention to, I admit, a show needs time to polish in order to showcase its talents as best as it can.

And as usual, the opening and closing of the curtains between each contestant drove me nuts, sitting there in dead-air time. Frequent blackouts suck the energy right out of the stage and the inertia they leave behind makes it difficult to build the excitement for what's supposed to be onstage. No one likes to sit in the dark for too long.

Unsurprisingly, the one with the most performing experience won, hat's off to him. But the others never really had the chance to close the gap even a little. The talent was there, but time wasn't on their side, at least for this competition.

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