I am going to be portraying Mark Twain on the lecture circuit circa 1896.
I want to make the performance as realistic as possible, so that the sufferers (audience) can adopt a "willing suspension of disbelief" and imagine they really are back in that era.
The, or a, problem is amplification - I am tempted to use none (rather than wear a concealed mic) to reproduce the technology of the time as much as possible. But how did they do it? How were speakers of that pre-amplification era able to make themselves heard to large crowds?
Was it a matter of using the wooden floorboards of the stage as literal "sounding boards", bouncing their utterances off them, or what technique was used? Certainly they didn't shout their lungs out...
All of the comments are useful to one degree or another, but I would still like to know if the floorboards must be used as sounding boards; IOW, is it advantageous to "aim downwards" to bounce the sound off the wood?