Page images
PDF
EPUB

STAGE FRIGHT

[ocr errors]

"Stage Fright," from which so many people suffer when about to make an address, a reading, or take part in a dramatic performance, is nothing more or less than nervousness brought about through the lack of knowing the essentials of the Art of Expression which embraces not only the memorizing of words but includes the Voice, Look, and Gesture.

One who can speak with the proper tone, move the body correctly, make the proper gestures (and every gesture with a meaning), will become master of the situation in Voice, Look and Gesture and will see stage fright vanish as mist before the sun. Fright inspires a terror, and in that condition one feels that he may appear ridiculous. But when one overcomes fright this terror disappears and the speaker or reader is at ease before his audience.

Many overcome this “stage fright” (in a way) through experience, but they are really never at ease.

The only solution of overcoming this "stage fright” is in knowing the fundamentals of the Art of Expression or Oratory: To know how to walk, kneel, sit and move correctly at all times and under all situations, not only in the movements of the body, hands and feet, but by thoroughly analysing each and every line that is spoken, the emphatical words, the true meaning of the words, following the spirit of the author as to the time, place, manner and customs—making one's self an instructor to the public by a thorough study of a drama, poem or address in such a way that they who listen will hear with your ears and see with your eyes.

movements of the body, hands and feet are true and convey a meaning (without words), then this "stage fright" will never cause you a moment of unrest.

A careful and conscientious study of this Course of Instruction is a guarantee against "Stage Fright.”

When yo

EXERCISE

(To be memorized by the pupil, applying the methods of

Voice, Look and Gesture.)

CASEY AT THE BAT

(Iver's Standard Recitations.)

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face;
And when responding to the cheers he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt,
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then, when the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance glanced in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the lather-covered sphere came hurling through the air,
An' Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there;
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped;
"That ain't my style,” said Casey. "Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of storm waves on the stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand,
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult, he made the game go on;
He signalled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew,
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said "Strike two."

“Fraud !” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered “Fraud !"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let the ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lips, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel vengeance his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Boston: mighty Casey has struck out.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

(Born, 1564; Died, 1616.)

A Biographical Sketch

Shakespeare was born on the 23rd day of April, 1564, in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, and though looked on, even in his day, as the greatest poet England had ever produced, the materials of his biography are of the most scanty kind. His father was a wool-dealer and butcher, and though in humble, was never in straitened circumstances. Shakespeare received only a plain education, having at school made no progress beyond the rudiments of Latin. While only eighteen he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a small farmer at Shottery, near Stratford. She was considerably older than himself. Nothing is known of his occupation at this period, excepting that he was making a figure in the justice of peace-court for deer-stealing. After one of these visits to the justice-court he appears to have written a satirical ballad on the justice, which he affixed to his park gate. The ballad has been lost, but it is said to have been so bitter that Shakespeare had at last to flee to London, where he began his career at the theatres by holding horses for gentlemen who came to the play. He afterwards was admitted inside the theatres to act the humbler parts of the drama. From this moment he rose rapidly, and although all details are awanting, it is known that in his twenty-fifth year he was a sharer in the profits of the representations. In 1593 appeared his first poem, "Venus and Adonis," and in 1594, “Lucrece.” About the same time he appears to have become part proprietor of the Globe Theatre, and on the fair way to fortune. His plays were now issued in rapid succession. The latter years of Shakespeare's life were spent in ease and retirement; he had accumulated a fortune and retired to his native village, where he passed the remainder of his life. He had three children by Anne Hathaway, two girls and a boy; the daughters only survived their parent. Shakespeare died in his fifty-second year, on his birthday, April 23, 1616. He was buried in the parish church of Stratford, where his monument may still be seen.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »