Monday, July 11, 2011

Oklahoma! - Breaking Down the Fourth Wall

The "fourth" wall in theater refers to the imaginary wall between the audience and the action on stage.

One of the most thrilling aspects of Arena Stage's revival of Oklahoma! was the way performers broke down the fourth wall. The small theater in the round combined with the actors' incredible energy made the audience feel like they were part of the action.

Here are some highlights:

One of my favorite moments happened during the dancing in "Farmer and Cowman," I almost had to restrain myself from jumping on stage! I wondered if others felt the same way - and even if this had ever happened!

It was one of the most exciting musical numbers I have ever seen.

From the Green Room: Every time you speak, you have an opportunity to tear down the fourth wall and connect directly to your audience.

Here are three ways to do it:

1. Make your audience essential. Develop your content in such a way that your presentation would be impossible to deliver - without the particular audience you are speaking to.

2. Begin you presentation by asking the audience to do something. (answer a question, raise their hand, stand up, etc.)

3. Move to connect. Step away from the podium and move directly towards the people you are speaking to.

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