Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Twin Peaks Festival - Connect. Engage. Entertain.

This weekend I attended the 19th Twin Peaks Festival.I played Sylvia Horne in the series, married to Richard Beymer from West Side Story. You may recognize Ray Wise in the picture, who played Leland in the series and had a leading role in The Reaper. He will return to Mad Men in the fall. Sheryl Lee was Laura, murdered and wrapped in plastic. Sherilyn Fenn who played my daughter, Audrey, was also there. It was great to see everyone.

175 fans from all over the world, including Austria, Canada, Scotland, Australia, etc. I’m always amazed at how long fans have kept the series alive. Besides touring the actual sites where the program was filmed, attendees ate cherry pie and ordered a “damn good cup of coffee,” participated in a character costume contest, and watched Fire Walk With Me at the Seattle Art Museum.

The fan's favorite weekend activity is when they can ask a panel of actors questions about what happened during the filming. The five actors came up with lively, entertaining responses; it was a tribute to their improvisational abilities. It’s hard to remember the obscure details from over twenty years ago when you’ve played many other roles since then. But the enthusiastic audience cheered, laughed or clapped at every utterance. How nice it would be if we got that kind of reception and favorable response for our everyday presentations!

I’ve mentioned before that a speaker needs to adapt and embrace technology. This was certainly the case Saturday night. When I looked out into the audience, I wasn’t able to make much eye contact or even see faces. There had to be 175 iphones, ipads, cameras and video cameras trained on our every movement and recording every word! We all knew our responses would be posted immediately on multiple sites on the internet. It could be daunting for a business speaker but actors seem to relish being in the spotlight.

It was a fun time for all. Another time I will write about being directed by the brilliant David Lynch. He had much to teach his actors about connecting, engaging and entertaining audiences.

Check out the 2011 Twin Peaks panel at: