Chances are, if you’re a performer, you’ve heard some “voice hacks” revolving around food and drink. “Drink lemon water to eliminate phlegm.” “Don’t eat before you go on stage.” “Eat potato chips to solve a sore throat.” Many of these sound reasonable enough and are offered to us as such absolute truths that we accept them without really researching whether they are true or not. As a result, all performers hold in their hearts a unique set of myths and half-truths gathered over the years which they believe makes them better singers. Is there any truth to these claims, or are they only urban legends? I decided I wanted to learn that for myself.
I’ve been around a lot of performers, in a lot of different settings. I’ve directed, I’ve taught, I’ve acted, I’ve watched from the audience and from the stage manager’s booth. Every performer is unique, and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Yet, in all of the actors, dancers, and musicians I’ve worked with, I have found that there are exactly three traits every truly excellent performer has in common.
These traits are instrumental to success in the performing arts. You won’t get very far without them, and having them can put you on top in close auditions.
If you can honestly say you have these three traits, then pat yourself on the back! If you’re not so sure, read over this article closely and do what you can to pick them up immediately.
I write this a week after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, declared schools would be closed for two weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19, and days after he’s ordered a shutdown of all events with more than 50 people in attendance. Thus, he wiped out thousands of school, community, and professional theatre productions in the state. All around the U.S. and the world, the decree is the same. As of now, Broadway is not even a week into a month-long blackout.
These preventative measures are necessary, but they exact a price.
A lot of my friends are hurting. As deep into various theatre circles as I am, I’ve been hearing lamentations of cancelled and postponed shows for weeks.
Some amateur department directors fear their programs will never be able to recover financially. Actors mourn roles they’ll never get to play for an audience. Professionals are without pay for who knows how long.
Despite everything, the theatre community keeps art and hope alive. Young actors share videos of their would-be performances, clips of themselves singing and reading monologues. Professional theatre and dance companies like BalletNova Center for Dance post Facebook Live ballet classes for anyone to enjoy.
But we are hurting. Many actors have had something taken from them they will never really be able to recover.
Actors, singers, dancers, professionals and amateurs alike; Performers of every sort who have been effected by the spread of this disease:
Take this time to rest, whether you want to or not.
I get it. Your energy is running low, you’re craving that (artificially) sweet, sweet burst of caffeine to jolt you awake. You want to put on the best show you can and need the energy to do so. You need to get your energy quick if you’re going to get it at all.
Enter the energy drink.
Much has already been said about the dangers of energy drinks, and it’s true that there are many other far healthier and far more efficient ways to bring about a feeling of wakefulness. For the purposes of passing complete information along to my readers, I’ll touch upon alternative options and health risks briefly, but that’s not the main purpose of my article.
This article goes out to the employee who woke up at 7:00 to work eight hours and then drives straight to the theatre for call. The average working/school-going/child-raising/all-of-the-above person who can’t stop for a nap or a quick cardio session, and needs to get some sugar and caffeine into their system right now goddamnit. This article is for you.
Here’s how to drink an energy drink before a show in the most health-conscious way possible.