“You do a ‘Fight Call’ before every performance, if your play has a fight scene. It’s required by the Actors’ Union,” Kevin Moriarty told me last week.
Who’s Kevin? He’s the Tony Award winning Artistic Director at the Dallas Theater Center (DTC). He and I sit together and watch this Fight Call that happens exactly 30 minutes before show time of In The Heights.
Why am I hanging out with Kevin who has lots of other stuff to do? I won the raffle!
What raffle? As a season-ticket holder and patron I won the chance to experience a rarely seen, behind-the-scenes look at DTC accompanied by Kevin and DTC’s Production Stage Manager.
What’s a “Fight Call”? The actors practice all the dance moves involved in a fight scene, once without the background lights and music, and once with the theatrical effects.
Fight Call Preparation and Your Communication Tool Kit:
Kevin explains to me, “The reason you have to do a Fight Call is to rehearse these moves so that they become part of your muscle memory. If the actors get emotionally involved with the scene, this practice session reminds them to block the moves with safe distance to avoid any actual fight scene calamities.”
“But,” I respond, “They do this same production eight times a week. Isn’t that enough for muscle memory to take over?”
“You would think so,” Kevin said, “But this protocol is done across America, in every theater production, everywhere. And it’s before every performance. So there’s a Fight Call twice on days that include a matinee and evening performance. Practice creates safety, predictability and positive outcomes.”
You know where I’m heading! The way you communicate requires the same type of preparation discipline. Think of this list as your Communication Fight Call Tool Kit.
Your kit includes, but is not limited to:
- Get to the venue at least one hour early.
- Check out the sound system – do a mic check. (Your first sentence to your listeners canNOT be: “Can you hear me?” NO!!!!!!!)
- Get your A/V working – if you’re using PowerPoint.
- Make sure that you can be seen by everyone in your audience – practice walking around on the stage and look for obstacles like pillars.
- Bring your own introduction (make it short) that the meeting planner says about you before you start.
- Put your notes where you can find them – probably on the lectern.
- Practice your open and close – thirty minutes before you go on stage.
- Do some vocal exercises ahead of time.
- Do some physical activity – warm up your body and your face.
Send us some other tricks you do that get you ready mentally, physically and emotionally for your presentations and pitches.
Practice creates predictability, added poise and positive outcomes.
To discuss a customized Speak For Yourself® workshop or Star Ranch retreat on how to communicate formally, informally, and electronically – email Info@SpeakForYourself.com.
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Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker