Are You Master Of Your Entertainment Domain by Mike Ficher

September 15, 2012 by Mike Ficher

No, not your residence, of course. When you are serving at an event, where do you live?Issue 144-044

Do you live only in the world available—the banquet room, the hotel, the museum, the park—or do you live in the world that you and the client would like to create for the event and for the guests?

Are you a metaphorical slave of the console, content to play the music, execute the announcements, lead games, orchestrate activities, and provide a memorable audio experience for your clients? Or are you free to explore a new world?

A BRAVE NEW WORLD

“Theatre is a place where fiction and reality come together to problematize each other. . . The tension between the two is always present, and, indeed, it can be argued that it is precisely the dual presence of the real and the not real that is constitutive of theatre.” writes Gay McAuley in Space in Performance: Making Meaning in the Theatre.

How real are the events that we service? How many brides want to create a fairy tale kingdom for at least a few hours on their memorable day? Indeed, isn’t the typical mobile event a “place where fiction and reality come together”? Are we not producing a form of theatre?

If so, location and space can become allies for the mobile entertainer who views his work as theatre rather than just entertainment?

CIRCLE OF LIFE

In the last ten years, I’ve ventured far beyond the mobile business complex to explore many different forms of entertainment.

I served as a sportscaster for a local radio station, calling high school football and basketball games for four years and summer college baseball games for three years. In those situations, I provided eyes for the listener, so I placed critical emphasis on describing the scene in vivid detail.

Before the opening kickoff, I shared the colors of each team’s uniforms—black cleats, blue socks with yellow horizontal stripes, blue pants with yellow and white piping, white shirts with blue sanserif numerals with yellow outline, blue helmets with a yellow interlocked CC on each side and a yellow faceguard.

I described the weather—45 degrees, wind blowing out of the northeast at 10 miles per hour, gray, overcast skies with only spotted patches of blue in the northeast, chance of rain about 20% at kickoff.

Before each play, I shared the formations— offense in a double wing, lone receiver split to the right; defense in a 5-2 with the safeties within four yards of the line of scrimmage.

Why did I emphasize such detail? I want to allow the listeners to “see” the action in their minds. I wanted the listener to see the linebacker in the black uniform top hitting the running back wearing the white top. I wanted the listener to feel as much as possible that they were at the stadium watching the game. Since many listeners had probably been in the stadium where the game was being played, I could play off that knowledge to create the moment for them.

Do you help transport your guests to another “location?” You may be in a banquet room at a hotel, but can you convert that, in the guests’ minds, into a magical place?

A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR

I love to play golf. Not well, mind you, but I enjoy the challenge of the sport. But, I detest riding a cart. Why?

I love to walk a course, to feel the grass, to mentally develop the next shot from what I see and feel around me as I walk up the fairway. I need to feel the undulations of the fairway, the idiosycracies of nature, to see how a hole is shaped and might be best played.

In addition to sportscasting, during the last three-plus years I’ve appeared in six local community theater stage productions.

Actors are responsible for their own props. Before each show, I reviewed my wardrobe and ensured that my props were avaialble and ready.

In addition, if time permitted, I walked around all points of the stage and to the various seating locations in the theatre. How does the guest in the back of the room see the stage? Will the person sitting stage right miss something in a scene? How does the view appear from the center of the theatre?

Walk your room. Do blind spots exist where guests may not be able to see you?

Acoustically, how does the sound reverberate?

Like the golf course, get a feel for the space, the floor, the carpet, the acoustics.

Use the room. Which wall that might be a reference point? What materials available in the room can you use? What points can you venture to within the room to exploit the available lighting for different views?

Energize the room. According to Kyle Mackie, in a presentation on space, “SPACE is charged with ENERGY. Space shrinks and expands.” What energy is your room sharing with you?

“Theater, as distinct from other dramatic media, is essentially a relationship between performer, spectator, and the space in which both come together,” Gay Auley notes in her book. In the world of mobile entertainment, we draw from the world of theatre and benefit by using space and location creatively for our audiences’ enjoyment. So, where do you live?

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Mike Ficher Mike Ficher (11 Posts)

A business analyst by day, Mike Ficher is an actor, voice artist, emcee, sportscaster, public address announcer and former mobile entertainer. He hosts the weekly syndicated radio program, The Ultimate Oldies Show, which synthesizes these varied experiences to illuminate historic connectivity and provide fresh perspectives on the mobile entertainment profession. More info at www.mikeficher.com.


Filed Under: Business, Issue #144