The Face

A singer’s face is a map. When the audience closes its eyes, her face should burn through their eyelids. I love faces. All my life I’ve studied them. Staring is a tool of the trade. The face relays the health of the body and the soul. A doctor always knows when we have a fever, and an audience always knows when we’re lying. Watching a singer sing one song and express another is distressing. The muscles of the face, the eyes, the mouth, all convey the depth of one’s inner commitment, or lack thereof.

The eyes that sing…they greet us or reject us, they are cool, confused, accusing, defending, stroking, killing. The eyes that ask and answer, that open and close, that look out through wide orbs or narrow slants…they glow and throw sparks. What an excellent instrument we performers have who know how to use them.

And the mouth – especially the mouth of a woman! It is the top of the instrument, the keyhole, the promise. What opportunities lie therein! What bewitching expressions, coyness, humor, spirit, tenderness, lust, mystery, excitement! And pride, arrogance, greed, revenge…all played out on two bands of red flesh. It is the mouth of a lover, a mother, a muse. An incredible instrument that one can lighten or darken through the precise showing of teeth, pretty teeth or deadly teeth, whose gleam can seduce. The audience loves a good mouth, especially on a singer.

photo: rand alhadeff

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About Karen Kohler

Born in Frankfurt and raised in New York, Karen began her professional music career in Austin. Since returning to NYC in 2001, she has been a leading exponent of the cabaret arts as performer, director, producer and historian. Her performances blend multiple genres - classical, cabaret, jazz, blues and folk-rock - in six languages. She is founder of the award-winning ensemble, Kabarett Kollektif, and producer of Kabarett Fete, a celebrated international cabaret festival. Karen gives private lessons and conducts master classes in stagecraft, the art of public speaking and creativity coaching. View all posts by Karen Kohler

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