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reached. Difficulties with grammar may be eliminated in the same way. Too many students are apt to believe, also, that the “gift of gab" is all that is necessary, - to say something and keep on saying it. This is entirely an error. The extemporaneous paragraph if taken down by a stenographer and printed, should show all the exactness in structure that is possessed by the carefully written paragraph. To avoid constantly repeating one thing, a definite progressive outline should be made, and then the speech should progress with it. It might be well for the student to prepare about four times the material he needs under each head and then he will be sure to have plenty to say, even if some of it slips away when he rises to speak.
Combination methods. – Very often speakers use a method combining two or more of the preceding methods. A speaker may read most of his speech, but occasionally through it he may lay aside the manuscript and launch forth upon a committed paragraph. This is better than reading altogether, but usually the committed portion seems so much more interesting to the audience that they count the rest of the reading intolerably dull. Again the relief paragraphs may be extempore, but where the speaker is not experienced in this style they are apt to be halting and fragmentary, although the speaker undoubtedly gains in the attention of his audience. Some speakers combine the extempore and memoriter methods, writing out and committing to memory, say, the introduction, the conclusion, and a few of the most important parts of the speeches, while they leave the remainder to the extempore style. This has the advantage that the speaker is sure of effective language at critical places, but the differences in style are often too apparent, and since the speaker goes faster generally upon the committed portions, the speech acquires a sort of jerky effect.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON RECITING
WITH direct address, such as is found in an oration or debate, much less trouble is experienced by the beginner than with reciting proper, where he is obliged to take the part of one or more characters. To aid the student in this sort of work, a few suggestions are given below. See your characters yourself. — First of all, it is necessary that you actually see your characters yourself. If you are Brutus, you must imagine that you have on your coat of mail, that you have your sword at your side. If you are Aunt Chloe, you must imagine yourself in the checked apron, with the red bandanna around your head, and with the thick lips and Southern dialect. You can never hope to make your audience see your characters if you do not see them yourself. It is just as necessary, too, that you see the characters you are addressing. When you, as one character, talk to them, they will respond (in your imagination), perhaps by smiling at you, perhaps by frowning, or threatening you. This, in turn, will have its effect upon your own facial expression, and the audience will see the whole scene before them. Position of characters. — In reciting, the reader stands almost still, only turning slightly from side to side. Below is given a diagram which will aid the student. Let a represent the reciter. If he is addressing b, he will look along the line ab, at an angle not greater than
158 GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON RECITING
forty degrees to the left of a line running to the center of the audience. To look along the dotted line ad, as if your characters were on the platform with you, would be bad, for then the people on your extreme right would have trouble in hearing you and would not be able to see your facial expression. It must be remembered, too, that when you are addressing b, you must look steadily at b. Do not let your gaze wander, but keep it glued to your character.
It is a good plan to take some object on the wall, a window, a gas jet, or something, as a guide. When you are through talking to b, and b is about to speak, imagine that b has come to where you are, that is, to a, and that you, or, better, the character you just were, have gone to c. Then you at a, as b, must address c along the line ac. Do not get your grown people too small. Remember that they are about as tall as you are, and that you are supposed to look them in the eye. Just suggest the actions of the characters. — It is not necessary, in fact it is not good, to imitate your characters exactly. Just suggest them to your audience. For instance, if a character kneels, it is not necessary for you to kneel; just the clasped hands and a slight bend in the forward knee will be enough to suggest the action. If a
character draws a sword, it is not necessary to put it away. Do not use any costume whatever. Put your pictures to one side and let your eyes “flit back and forth " between them and your audience. — It is sometimes well, in describing very vivid scenes, to imagine that you see them off to one side (never farther to the sides than the lines ab and ac). Then tell the audience what you see, looking now at the picture off yonder, and now at the audience. In case you use gestures, pointing to the scene, look back to the audience just as the stroke comes. Use taste. — It disgusts an audience to overpersonate. In nearly every case, if you can tell about the scene, the audience would prefer it; but when the interest becomes absorbing, then you may change your method. If there is only a line or two in the selections that are quoted, perhaps it would not be best to impersonate them. Do not begin a recitation with a violent impersonation. Work up to it with a little introduction, if you must start with it.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON STAGE DEPORTMENT
ONE of the best exercises for developing freedom of action and naturalness of melody is that of presenting before the class or school short scenes from good plays. In order that this may be done well, a few simple suggestions that govern the art of acting are here given. Each scene, of course, must be worked out by itself, but the following hints will help materially in “putting on ” a good production.
Position. — It should always be remembered that the actor is playing for the audience. Too many young students play for the other characters on the stage. Remember that, although you must seem to play for the other characters, you, in reality, must play for the audience. This will affect your position. The foot farthest from the audience should be extended toward the character whom you are addressing. This will turn you more toward the audience than if you stood the other way, and they will thus be enabled to hear you better, and to see the expression on your face. If possible, it is well to seek a position “up stage,” that is, toward the back of the stage, from the character you are addressing. This will aid in the same manner as the position of the feet, which has just been mentioned. Be careful, however, not to let the audience know that you are seeking such a position. Slip into it when they are interested in something else.
Remember, too, that it is not always necessary to look