Prose and Poetry "Reading"

If you are involved in either Prose or Poetry then you have the distinct honor of being adorned with a handsome, black binder during your performance.  It is because of that binder Prose and Poetry are often paired with "Reading" in the event's title; or perhaps it is the other way around?  Regardless, it does not hide the concept of the performer "reading" to their audience.  The binder takes care of that.  It is meant to represent a book.  Though, anyone who has seen Prose or Poetry knows what a farce the "reading" aspect is.  The Reader hides the lie of memorization while pretending to be "reading" the story afresh.  How splendid!  A formality that must be paid or ranks can be lost for it is Prose/Poetry Reading.  Fortunately faking is easy.  

  1. Plan when you look down.  Like everything in Prose and Poetry, the act of "reading" needs to be planned.  Without having muscle memory tell you to glance down you risk not "reading" your piece to the audience.  Make it a part of your performance to avoid a silly mark down for not "reading" the story inked on your heart.  
  2. Glances per page ratio.  If you are indeed "reading" the story to your audience, glancing once at the page per page turn is not fitting.  How many lines are on the page will determine your glace ratio.  On average, a glance every few sentences is what is required.  Obviously, spend more time directed towards the audience then the book. 
  3. Length.  When "reading" your Prose or Poetry a few seconds per glance is sufficient.  It is enough time to look like "reading" yet does not keep your eyes away from where they should be--the audience.
  4. Maximize effect.  Use "reading" to your advantage.  If there is a moment you character is overwhelmed and would need to "hide" that can be accomplished by "reading" and looking into the book.  Even a pause while looking at the book after some "reading" can be effective when appropriate.  It is subtle, but it definitely gets the point across of the character being insecure, etc.  If you want to shock your audience with a sudden mood change or epiphany try having your character "read" and then look up with whatever change it is you wish to show.  Experiment.  These are only ideas.  
  5. DO NOT PUT YOUR FACE IN THE BOOK.  People still need to see your face as you "read" because you are still interpreting.  Stand erect, hold your book at a comfortable height (and not held flat but cradled in your hand), and use your eyes to "read," not your whole face.  

You see?  "Reading" can be used to improve your piece and add layers of detail to your performance!  These mandatory eye maneuvers seem silly and pointless at first, but they do provide atmosphere to Prose and Poetry Interpretation.  Not only does it give the appearance of an old-fashioned read aloud, it also can be capitalized upon for your benefit.  Take five, plan some cool "reading" spots/effects, and PRACTICE!!!