Looking natural onstage is one of the hardest things to learn.
I studied how I stood and what I did with my hands in everyday life, so I could stand onstage, just being, and feel natural.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
But it makes a huge difference to not have to worry about what to do with your hands when you’re onstage just standing there – instead, you can focus on the things you need to be worrying about – like acting.
My dear friend Pamela Hall had polio and one of her arms is locked in place with minimal use of her fingers on that hand – and yet, when you see her onstage. You never notice her arm. And I’ve asked friends who are also actors if they noticed (because you know what a picky judgmental lot we are) – and they never notice.
It’s an art to look natural on stage.
Another thing about theater that will help.
Get used to touching others and being touched.
When I audition with someone or we are in rehearsal and they have to touch me – I tell them, “It’s okay. You can’t embarrass me.”
And it’s true. I am very comfortable with my fat old lady body.
And acting may be fun, but it is also work.
I’m not going to take it personally.
That’s not to say, I’m going to put up with someone who thinks it’s fun or funny to just grope you for a laugh that has nothing to do with the acting.
That’s a good way to get to try out your health insurance.
And I don’t touch people without making sure they are going to be comfortable with it.
I don’t assume everyone is where I am as to their body comfort.
But if, while you are onstage, you can think of your body as part of your toolkit, you will make life easier for yourself and your fellow actors.
And save everyone a whole lot of time.
And I’m not even talking about those amazing people who work and tone their bodies to do amazing things on stage. I’m just talking fat old lady-style stuff.
Standing, sitting, walking – you know the physical movement even I can handle.