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ELOCUTION AND ACTION.

LESSON I.

The Speaker's Position.

The best position for the speaker is that in which he can speak or read effectively for the longest time with the greatest ease, and which, at the same time, allows the greatest freedom of movement.

A speaker in a constrained position is always more or less embarrassed, because his attention is called continually to unpleasant sensations in his hands, feet, or head, as the case may be; on the other hand, a comfortable position puts both speaker and audience at ease. Without a correct and graceful position the gestures will be awkward and unnatural, and the voice will be constrained; therefore, it is necessary to acquire this first of all.

ELOCUTION AND ACTION.

LESSON I.

The Speaker's Position.

The best position for the speaker is that in which he can speak or read effectively for the longest time with the greatest ease, and which, at the same time, allows the greatest freedom of movement.

A speaker in a constrained position is always more or less embarrassed, because his attention is called continually to unpleasant sensations in his hands, feet, or head, as the case may be; on the other hand, a comfortable position puts both speaker and audience at ease. Without a correct and graceful position the gestures will be awkward and unnatural, and the voice will be constrained; therefore, it is necessary to acquire this first of all.

LESSON II.

The Speaker's Position.-—Continued.

Standing.

Side View.

Be careful that the KNEE of the strong leg is firm without stiffness.

The HIPS should not be thrown forward, which gives one a pompous appearance, nor drawn far back.

The CHEST should be active, that is, expanded but not necessarily inflated with air.

Do not pull the SHOULDERS back, nor draw them forward. Do not draw in the CHIN nor lift the HEAD, but look straight forward toward the audience.

Be sure that there is neither stiffness nor limpness anywhere; try to have a springy, animated condition of the whole body, both in this and in all similar exercises.

Avoid nervous twitchings of the face and hands, picking with the fingers, twisting about on the ankle, in a word, all unnecessary movements of any part of the body.

The important element in every position is the proper balance or poise, as it is called, of the body. If the notch in the collar-bone be kept exactly over the middle of the strong foot, the body is properly poised or balanced, and the arms and free foot can move freely in all directions without cramping or distorting any part. If, on the contrary, the shoulders incline too far either to the right or to the left, there is danger of losing one's balance, while if the hip be drawn in, there will be stiffness and constraint.

EXERCISE II.
Sitting.

Sit erect, with active chest and animated carriagé of the whole body. Keep the feet near together, one slightly in advance of the other. Let the hands, if unemployed, lie easily and naturally in the lap. Do not lean against the back of the chair, nor sit stiffly erect, but sway the body slightly forward.

TO THE TEACHER:-Illustrate by example both correct and incorrect attitudes. If pupils are familiar with the law of gravitation, call their attention to its application here. Do not take up any further work in position until these lessons are thoroughly understood; but do not wait for perfect precision before going

on.

Point out glaring faults as they occur, but do not strive for ideal perfection in attitude; or, for that matter, in expres sion of any sort, in the beginning; the result will be loss of spontaneity, which is more valuable than grace or mechanical perfection. If the habitual attitude approximate to the ideal, the less said about details the better. Leave much to nature, especially with very young pupils.

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