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If you are considering enrolling in acting courses for adults, you might think about issues like your body language, how to project your voice and even challenges like performing a stage or screen kiss.

However, an issue you might not have given so much thought to is how to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. Sometimes you can be performing live when things start to go wrong, and being cool, keeping concentration and thinking clearly might help rescue the situation.

It is exactly this scenario that makes the Comedy ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ so funny, as the whole plot is about a performance where everything goes haywire and the cast continually has to try to keep the show going as one mishap follows another.

However, there may be times you need to do this for real, like when props break, or one of your fellow actors makes an error by saying the wrong lines. How you respond will shape whether the performance sails on smoothly or sinks without a trace.

Nor is it just what is happening on the stage that could cause a problem. The issue of badly-behaved theatre audiences arose in April when some patrons were ejected from the Palace Theatre in Manchester during a musical for disrupting the performance by loudly (and badly) singing the words.

Speaking to the BBC, comedian Ben Elton said audiences “should apply good taste and good manners” in theatres to prevent such situations.

However, sometimes theatres themselves can be culpable; as the Norwich Evening News reported, the Norwich Theatre Group recently had to apologise for “encouraging poor theatre etiquette” by issuing an email about upcoming musicals describing them as “something to sing along to”.

The fact is that if you go on stage, you will need to be able to stay focused amid many distractions, some of which may come from the audience. And if it is a modern phenomenon for some people to behave as if a musical is a karaoke session, just consider that even Shakespeare had to deal with all sorts of hecklers and rowdy audiences in his day!


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