Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Art of Emceeing part 2 - Weaving the Glamour

Did you know that the word "glamour" originally meant a magic spell, like shape shifting? Glamour as we now understand it, IS a magic spell - it is about creating an illusion, about getting people to see what we want them to see.
Me, I am an old, fat, grumpy. lady - three things that are about as glamorous as cold spaghetti. But I can also be this:

An old, fat, grumpy, funny and sparkly lady! 
Glamour in both of its meanings is what makes or breaks a Burlesque show. It doesn't have to be sparkly though - Sadie von Scrumptious absolutely nailed emceeing the Nerdlesque show as "Immortan Hoe" a parody of the villain from the most recent Mad Max movie
More on the fun of character work in a later post! 
Absolutely we can give 'em both barrels of rhinestones and sequins, but the glamour goes far beyond the costume.
Please bear with me as I lay out a bit of context.
Burlesque is entertainment - obviously. The object of that entertainment - the Entertained as it were, is the Audience. They buy the tickets and the drinks and they keep us in business.
The "Muggle" audience i.e. the audience who are not performers themselves, come with a range of expectations. They may expect fans and boas and Dita von Teese, or the cast of that awful movie Burlesque*. What they actually get is a range of abilities and levels of experience, delivered by a range of body types and age groups, often in a way that is VERY different from the sexy male gaze thing they expected! Our Neo scene here is pretty off the wall!
To me, the real "Glamour" and the first and foremost job of an Emcee is to make sure the audience is in the zone to appreciate the show they will be getting, and not to miss any one they thought they were going to get! Scoop 'em up and take 'em along for the ride!
And the way to do that is to wrap the show in fun, focus on what is happening in the room and the show, and work the audience to create a supportive atmosphere. Then EVERYONE has a blast.
This extends way beyond the obvious but important things like warm ups and spot prizes. It's such a big thing, I'll try and split it into future, focussed posts.
Bye for now - thanks for reading!
*I don't mind the movie, it's quite fun but it is NOT any Burlesque I've ever seen! I do sing the Welcome to Burlesque song but with a heavy lyrical rewrite to be funny and warm and not basically procurement of the performers (EEEW)

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