Well, as I have written before, I have taken it upon myself to memorize the M.C. Lecture for the 2nd degree. I have had months of preparation to get all 35 minutes to be as tight and clean as I can.
Tuesday will be Corinthian Lodge #67's Fellowcraft degree of the fall and I am just the tiny bit nervous. Being the reader type, I needed some resources to be as effective as I could be in my performance. Thankfully, I have found some interesting articles concerning acting.
The first article is entitled, "Improve Your Acting - 10 Reasonably Good Tips!" by William G. Craig. The article has some very useful tips for a man, like myself, who has never taken an acting class and is just learning the ropes. Here is a sampling of tips that I will use:
1. Know your script. Read, re-read and then read again, and not just your own lines. From this foundation you can go on to identify the reason for your lines, this will help you react with the right lines and make remembering easier.
2. Listen actively, you should give the impression that what your character is hearing is purely of that moment. Resist the temptation to be quick with your lines, just to prove you know them, it is a conversation after all.
4. Learn to breath, practice 20 minutes a day. Inhale as deeply as possible and exhale for twice the amount of time you spent inhaling (i.e. inhale 15 seconds exhale 30 seconds). This will help pre-audition stress and stage fright.
The second article is entitled, "Five and a Half Acting Tips Not Taught in Drama Class" by Ruth Kulerman. I found this article to be much more helpful on actually delivering a good performance. I will paraphrase some of what I have to remember from this . (I suggest all brothers that are performing ritual to learn at least these five rules.)
1. The Comma
Within the lecture are many commas. In writing, commas often represent a pause in the sentence for the reader but in acting, they can be represented by many vocal inflections.
1.5 The Pause
Be careful not to think that a pause during speaking represents anything other than a pause. A pause represent something important when used properly and should only be used sparingly. (Imagine, Captain...James...T...Kirk...)
5. Don't go arm or leg crazy
When a normal person talks, do they fling their arms around? Simple answer...No! An actor should act natural. What, what, what?! I am going to be sad to say this but I have been a part of this bad habit. Flinging my arms around is a defense mechanism so that brothers don't see that I am nervous; it is similar to when a speaker sways back and forth.
The point of all these tips is to remember that when we have new brothers going through the degree work, they are expecting good degree work. I know that some brothers believe that we are merely bit players but many brothers do take the ritual seriously.
Yet, it is more than how serious we perform the ritual for ourselves. We must also remember that the time we present the ritual to a brother will be his first and last time as a candidate for the degrees. Give these brothers what they deserve, a great show. As Shakespeare most famously wrote, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Hopefully, with a little bit of work, we can all be good players, in ritual and life.