Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Theatrical Reading

Imagine that the characters that you have created in your head appear in front of you. They look and dress as you described and imagined. Their tone and gestures are pitch perfect. When they switch to another character, they change posture, they change facial expressions and they speak differently.   


Last weekend four of my short stories were read by professional actors in Hollywood.  “Read” is not really the right word; the stories were performed.  I attended the final rehearsal and the performance.


One of my stories is about a female assassin named Miriam Ivanna Allen.  The actress who played her walked in.  She had dark hair, was pencil thin, wore a black shirt, stove-pipe black slacks, and three inch stilettos.  And she was able to be hard edged or purr, as the story demanded.


I’ve done some readings of my stories in the past. This experience gave me a whole new dimension about what it takes to do it effectively.  Some lessons:

  • Don’t hurry, read slowly, especially at the beginning
  • If there is more than one character in the story, set up the second one carefully: pause, change posture, change tone of voice
  • Spend time rehearsing the delivery
  • Incorporate gestures into the reading
  • The ideal set-up is a stool and stand for the pages
  • Keep voice volume up, especially at the end of the sentence
  • It helps if the story has a first person POV


The reading was part of the New Short Fiction Series at the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery.  A different author is featured each month.



Townsend Walker




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Alexis E. Santi said...

wonderful. thank you, tw.