Sunday, May 04, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 323: The Green Room

Every legit theatre, nightclub, live venue and television studio has a “Green Room”. It’s this kind of neutral space between the dressing rooms and the stage. The last place where you are “yourself” before you become the character or performance that the audience has come to experience.

There are a lot of theories on why it’s called a Green Room. Some say they were originally painted green. Or it once referred to a room filled with plants and shrubbery whose moisture was said to help warm up actors’ voices. Another says it was named for nervous actors looking green around the gills.

Whatever the genesis, few, if any, are actually green anymore. And in addition to being a place of transition, they have become the place where artists most often intimately discuss their craft and culture.

They might be gauging why the performance might be going better or worse than expected. Audiences are assessed. Aspects of individual moments dissected.

A lot of younger performers gain greater insight into their chosen career from their working counterparts here than they ever did in whatever place they learned their craft.

For the Green Room is the edge of the abyss, you exit it to slay the audience or die trying. Any last minute skill you gain there could make all the difference.

For a couple of years now, Showtime and Comedian Paul Provenza have recreated the Green Room of a comedy club on television, bringing both a live and broadcast audience into this secret enclave to learn the inner realities of comedy.

The result is nothing short of stunning. Yeah, there are jokes and far from PC discussions. But the major revelation is how incredibly smart most of these people are, how vast their understanding of what makes audiences tick and just how hard you have to work to communicate.

The first two seasons of “The Green Room” are now posted on Youtube. In my opinion, not only essential viewing for anybody writing or performing Comedy, but anyone trying to reach an audience of any kind with their work.

These are brilliant half-hours of insider information and hard truths, as the sample below illustrates. Try to see them all.

And Enjoy Your Sunday…

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