PACK FLAT..PLAY BIG!

One of the first things I learned when I started into vent full time over 35 years ago was the slogan “pack flat..play big”. It means to have props that can break down for easy storage and easy transportation, yet has a big impact on audiences. Now not everything can break down flat..your trunk or suitcase for your puppets, for example. But the other props you use have to be chosen carefully so as to not take up all your space in your car.

One (of many..) nice things about a vent is that we carry the majority of what we do in our head and in our throat. We use our voices instead of having to worry about bulky props that other types of variety acts use. However even the small props can be heavy. If you do a distant voice try using a plastic glass instead of a real glass one. If you have bulky, heavy side tables see if you can pare down to one made of aluminum with a lighter top.

The vent stand for you vent figure also needs a second look. I have seen, unfortunately, many beginning vents don’t always take this into consideration. They bring heavy stands for their figures that not only take up lots of vehicle space, they are awkward to deal with on and off stage. Look for a stand that can collapse flat and is easy to set up and to later store at your home base. This also hold true for the type of sound system you use. Make sure it has enough power to get the job done, but not so large that you dread carrying it in and setting it up.

If you do magic in your vent act (to give your voice a rest..), look for tricks that are bright, colorful, and can pack down into a manageable size. It can a dash of color to you act and will not be a problem for you to deal with after the show.

Look good on stage. Give your audience something to see, but beware of long set ups, tear downs, and just inconvenient props. Often you will have multiple shows in the same day and if you cannot transport and set your show in a relatively short time, it’s time to reevaluate your set up system.images

To contact Mark Wade: kidshowvent@gmail.com

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