ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

'Perform at Your Best' puts tips at your fingertips

AFRAID your upcoming presentation will put everyone to sleep? Try acting like Al Pacino and take an active pause in your speech. Watch his Academy Award-winning performance in "Scent of a Woman" and notice the pauses he takes and how they add emphasis or dramatic effect to what he is saying.

Actress, acting coach and author Jane Marla Robbins has made this tip, along with other theatrical techniques, available to assist in those intense, on-the-spot situations where you may feel like you are on a stage. "Perform at Your Best: Acting Techniques for Business, Personal & Social Success" (Plain White Press) comes in a handy box of 35 color-coded cards that are ready to pull out at a moment's notice. They draw upon the advice and methods of the master teachers such as Lee Strasberg and Oscar-winning actors Meryl Streep and Marlon Brando, who worked with a gorilla to play Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Is there a beast that might assist you when making that sale?

Or maybe you're faced with stage fright when you greet your boss at the office party? Try this breathing technique from the father of modern acting and grandfather of the Actors Studio, Konstantin Stanislavski: "Inhale and feel your abdomen expand. Take four counts to inhale, hold for two counts, then exhale for four counts. Repeat."

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Liesl Bradner

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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