Make yourself at home on stage – Theatre is a craft. Stage experience is just as impressive as raw talent – if not more.
What we do on stage to look natural requires skill, technique and practice. Watching an experienced thespian is like watching a cork in the ocean – it’s just so easy! This is because they’ve made the mistakes; they know what works, and what doesn’t. They know when to talk, when to walk, when to pause for laughs, when to sit, drink, eat, shoot, die, resurrect – their timing is spot on. And it only comes with experience.
Rehearse with the correct props and furniture as early as you can. The same goes for costume; wear the shoes your character would wear from day one, you must look like you’ve worn them everyday of your life.
Your surroundings should be second nature to you – so much so that audience shouldn’t even notice them, they only notice you.
Time your lines and your actions for dramatic effect.
Unless otherwise directed, avoid making large, noisy movements through a line, make sure you are heard.
If you need to make a cross on stage, time it so you start speaking when you walk, and you end the line on your destination, these well-timed combinations can add great weight to what your saying.
Handling props while speaking can be incredibly effective if it looks easy, otherwise the audience will be focusing on the wrong thing. Rehearsal is the key.
Use the furniture and props around you, don’t be scared of them. Try a line sitting on a different chair, standing in a different position, leaning on a bookcase, folding a bed sheet, pouring a glass of water, etc. Practice your stagecraft and make yourself comfortable.