I will say that this performance was much easier to watch. I still messed up a couple of times but it was so much better. I felt the poetry performance was very drab and empty and my reading was the reason for that. I felt really good after my initial reading because I knew that I had prepared much more and I was practiced. Even the poetry reading helped. I feel like, with each day, we are practicing and becoming better as a group. At the same time, I was more frustrated with my reading. I wanted it to be perfect and it was not. I believe, and I said this in class last week, that you ask more of yourself when you prepare more. You know what the reading actually can become. After the reading, I felt like I connected with the audience better than the poetry reading. I could see it in the audience’s faces that some were genuinely touched by the story, they felt something. That made me feel good in my performance because you can read a story to anyone but the way in which you read it is how you make the audience feel. I still felt like I didn’t do much in the way of gestures or actions but I don’t feel like that is something that should just automatically happen because you’re performing. I believe the work should warrant it and mine did not.
My video of the performance matched my initial impression but when you watch the video, you get to really examine the parts that you forget about quickly while in the middle of it. For instance, when I messed up a line toward the middle of the reading, it seems when you’re in the middle of it, live, you laugh it off and forget about it and press onward. When watching the video of the mistakes you see how they really mess with the timing for me and for the listeners. A mistake and, what’s worse, making light of it by laughing at it is the worst thing that I could do in the middle of such a gloomy story. It would almost be more okay to do something like this if you were reading slapstick or a comedy routine. I wish, and I wished this just as soon as I did it, that I’d never laughed at the mistake and, never made it, to begin with. When you see what performances can become, you want yours to be the best. At least, that’s how I feel.
Things to improve on, as mentioned above, would be laughter, mistakes, pronunciation. There is so much because when you prepare and practice and believe you’re going to do great, and you don’t, you come up with 100 things you can do to make the next one better. I believe my voice was stronger and steadier in this performance when compared to the poetry reading. I always think that my voice sounds strange too but, I don’t think I can improve on that, only get comfortable with it!
My strongest aspects were the reading. In other words, I felt like I knew my lines in a way. I read it so many times before the performance that I almost knew what was to come. I felt prepared and ready to do a fine job and, initially, I believed that I had. After watching the video, as explained above, there were times that I wished had never happened in the performance. I believe my introduction could have been a little better, a little longer. I only shortened it to make sure that I had enough time for the rest of the reading. That was the hardest part of the prose section: picking out what to read and making sure you didn’t go over or under the allotted time given. I read the story a hundred times before picking out what I wanted to read but even after you pick the section you must trim it down even more, and then some more, and then you must find where you’ll end. It’s not easy but, looking at the video, I think I came through with a fine piece that the audience seemed to respond to. Yes, it was the end of the story but, when doing performance prose, sometimes those, in my opinion, are the strongest parts of a story to read.
I will say again, as I did in the self-evaluation from the poetry performance, preparation and rehearsal are so important. I can see that with a little practice, some preparation, and rehearsal (good rehearsal) can do for a performance. Watching and delivering the prose piece was night and day from the poetry piece. I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing in the first one! I didn’t take it as seriously. I felt nervous and I felt like people were watching me. I didn’t feel like that when I did the prose piece. I want to say that I knew people were watching me and that’s what I wanted. I feel like if your audience is not watching you, that means they’ve lost interest. I think this would be an interesting class to have year-round just to see how good we all get by the end of the year. I have only done two but I feel like my prose performance was 100% better than that of my poetry reading. I’m actually excited about the next one and I think with a little more work, it can be even better than the last.