Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for Northwestern University’s new Institute for Developmental Science (DevSci), during which my husband Vijay (who is a member of the Institute and professor at Northwestern) had the opportunity to say a few words. The speech had to do with science, but as with any public speaking performance, there were lessons from Vijay’s talk that can be transferred and applied to the art of acting. One lesson in particular is that if you (the performer) are having a good time on stage, then it is very likely that the audience will have a good time too!
My husband Vijay is a wonderful speaker. Nevertheless, he still gets nervous from time to time before a speech, as most of us do. These nerves can really get in the way of clearly communicating and keeping the audience engaged. However, last night, Vijay made the conscious choice to enjoy sharing his speech, and in turn, the speech really came to life! He had fun, so we as the audience had fun listening to him. Having fun also seems to breed other qualities, like confidence and ease. Vijay was at ease; so we were at ease. He was confident; so we were confident in him.
This all applies to acting, and is perhaps why I wholeheartedly believe everyone can benefit from acting class! Whether in an audition or on stage in a performance, the performers who reveal a sense of joy in the doing of their work, are in turn, a delight to watch. It is actually a bit difficult not to do a good job when you are having fun. For me, it was definitely this quality in Vijay’s speech that made his talk a memorable moment of an exciting evening.