Friday, January 18, 2008

Performance lecture

It may be a generic term but Prof Wolfgang Kissel of Bauhaus University threw the word into a phone conversation which I thought, "neat"!

So what is a performance lecture?

Truth I coundn't tell you, but based upon what Prof Kissel has in mind from a previous lecture I was asked to do in Berlin, it's a cross between stand-up and standing on your soap box at speakers corner ( Hyde Park).

Undoubtedly one of the most terrifying things to do is to stand in front of a group/auditorium of strangers and talk about something which as night follows day, you get something wrong, swallow some words and even, even fall of stage when your mikes not working.

So how do you stay calm?

For me it's the swan syndrome, trying to look ok on top whilst thinking furiously below and sometimes you can die on stage; or "corpse" - the expression.

It happens with me when I haven't sought or pinned down what the producer wants, so I once spoke about an array of things to an audience in Norway who wanted to hear about the birth and journey of videojournalism.

Yeouch. We rescued the talk in the main auditorium session as I furiously re-tuned my presentation with the producer.

Lets face it the producers always know best.

Al Gore a lesson in performance

One of the best performance lectures I have seen online is Al Gore's - a master class in delivery, hubris, attack, comedy.

Hands wide - showing what it's like to be frisked at an airport butressed with self mocking.

You may disagree with what he says, you may even think him insincere which some have posted on Youtube, but that's not what I evaluating.

Of course it's Al Gore and he contrast of the life now versus that with inches to the White House makes for good comedy, particularly when it's delivered by him.

But the whole point of the performance is to get a message across in an entertaining way and have the audience participate.

Stand-up comedians develop a sixth sense for reading an audience, preying on the one person who will be the butt of all their jokes.

For the lecturer, some caution as you're delivering factul stuff and you never know when the chap in the front seat is the IT guy from BT about to challenge you. Woops!

It's about a personality coming through the talk, a gonzo approach to presenting what you've learned.

I still get incredibly nervous before a presentation, not because I haven't prepared but because it's the unexpected, and then usually quickly I get into my stride and end up lying down on the floor with my hind legs up, running through the auditorium screaming something and often having a conversation with myself.

Why do I do it?

Why do I do it?

Well I don't always, but that's me.

One of my other fav performers is comedian Chris Rock who is gigging in London.

It's reported he brought the house down, or as my friends would put it, "he killed it. Yep Killed it"

It's also reported before taking to the stage, his first time in the UK ( will they get my jokes?) he was incredibly nervous.

Then he made an opening salvo:

If anyone of you think darts is a sport you must be out of your mind.

hahahahahah Quite!

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