Performing "theater style"

The other week I had to do a show without a mic. Doesn't happen too often, but it is interesting to me how it changes the dynamic of a set. You feel a lot more like you're doing theater. Things become more intimate and one-man showish. It humanizes you. Eye contact feels more real. The whole thing takes on a more conversational vibe rather than a one-way monologue.

You've also got to project more and amp things up so they can hear ya in the back. Subtle stuff just gets lost. Plus, you're not tethered. You can wander out into the audience and talk to people up close (that's true with wireless mic shows too) — something I enjoy doing. At this show, I wandered into the center of the crowd for half my set and definitely felt like people started locking more then.

Crowdwork doesn't work as well though because you lose your volume edge over audience members. That means it's more of a free-for-all. If you're interacting with random people in the crowd, it's nice to know you can out-volume them at least.

Don't get me wrong. I still prefer having a mic by plenty. But going without once in a while does give ya a different perspective. Also, if there's a situation where there's a mic that's cutting out or some other audio issue, it's nice to know you can just do it the old-fashioned way and get away with it. (Apparently PFT did this at a Moonworks show a couple of months ago which is pretty crazy since that room is enormous. Supposedly it went well. Woulda liked to have seen that.)


soce said...

Claudia Cogan was once hosting a show when the mic went out, and it gave her a chance to run and jump all over the stage, up the stairs and beyond. It was actually really funny!!!

I enjoy using wireless mics or adding instrumental portions to my music so that I have a chance to do a dance break and/or just roll around on the floor for a few seconds to mix things up.

myq said...

At Moonwork, the people are really listening though, so if that had to happen in a big room, that's the big room for it to happen in.

It's definitely two different experiences and skill sets though (both useful), I believe--adapting to a situation where you have to go from mic to no mic vs. going into a theatrical setting where you know there's no mic to begin with.

In the former, if the show was going well, you usually have a lot of good will from the audience, on your side against the evil technology failing, that whatever you do, however you react, you should be able to have some fun and all be in on that unique experience together.

In the latter, it definitely can be fun to begin with, as long as the audience CAN hear you and IS wanting to.

In conclusion, because I've added very little to the conversation (stop being so thorough, Ruby), I'll add that I enjoy carrying a wireless mic throughout my regular life, where most of the time people don't have access to them, like at the bank or grocery store or post office or construction site. It's great for crowdwork...
e.g. "What do you do?" "I work at the bank/grocery store/post office/construction site."

OR on the flip side, I also do enjoy when I'm moving through life with no microphone (the usual), and all of a sudden a microphone kicks into gear and I wasn't expecting it. People are adaptable though, and they usually dig it.

Especially at the construction site.

Digging! It means two things!
Good night everybody!
(Somebody shut this Myq off.)

RG Daniels said...

I feel like doing a show without a mic is like having sex without a condom--you're probably gonna get AIDS afterwards.

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