Over the summer I worked with a balloon show, and his show is a great illustration of why it’s important to use the stage. If you are standing in front of the stage, it does help you mentally with the energy exchange with you and the audience, however you sacrifice visibility.
Here’s how the show looked from the 4th row at the audience’s eye level:
You can’t see much, and the way the audience in the back filtered out, that confirmed that they couldn’t see. Here’s what the show looked like from the extreme side:
There’s a lot more going on in the show that the audience a couple rows back can’t see. If you are on the same level as your audience and they aren’t sitting directly on the floor, everything needs to be at your armpits or higher. Any lower and it just disappears when you’re in the 3rd row or further back.
This post should be a reminder to audit your show and look for places where things aren’t visible to the audience when you’re performing on the floor. Visibility is why Axel Hecklau’s Just a Cup is superior to most chop cup routines, the action isn’t stuck on the table…and you aren’t stuck behind a table!!