Hullo chaps! Week 3, here we go!
First up: Movement. Again the intense warm up/workout in which I comprehensively demonstrate my lack of a ‘core’. Then we revisited our Irish folk dance (which went surprisingly well) and then we started learning a flamenco-style dance. After an hour of thrusting my shoulders back, I had a feeling it was going to hurt in the morning (it did).
In Class Scene Work, we presented our research on 1926/7, the year that The Constant Wife was written/published. My partner and I performed our research on the music and film of the time as a cheesy radio station with lots of interviews. I was also roped in to demonstrate what we’d just been told about how a gentleman should acknowledge a lady acquaintance or friend in public. Unfortunately I had been taking notes on the previous thing and didn’t hear about when to sit, when to stand and when to half stand… It was very complicated back then!
In Radio we performed the duologues we’d been preparing. For my performance of Harry from Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions, I channelled my inner Alan Partridge and Jeremy Clarkson to give what was described as an “outrageous” performance… Not sure whether that was good, though!
Singing involved lots of improvised a cappella. And it was fun. In Theatre History, we moved onto the Romans and pagan story telling and ‘mummers plays’. We also had our first improvisation lesson with Oliver Senton, one of the performers in Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, which I saw five times at the Edinburgh Festival when I was there a few years ago. If you get a chance to see them, do. They’re amazing; would love to do something similar one day.
TV was first up and a chance to talk about Hollyoaks and Emmerdale which we’d all watched. We were also filmed answering questions (asked at random) as an ‘original character of our choice’. I went for a Machiavellian public school head boy. But when we watched the film back, it was clear I was playing it too big and broad for the relative intimacy of a tv camera. Note to self: tone it down!
In stagecraft, we boys performed a section of stage directions from Agatha Christie’s Towards Zero and our walking, posture, movement and ‘stage presence’ were scrutinised and criticised closely by our tutor!
In Movement we carried on our Flamenco dance and started a modern dance. I’d only just recovered from the previous class…
We also had our last Approach to Text class and said goodbye to Chekhov and Uncle Vanya for the time being.
In the evening I met Bridget at the National Theatre to see Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude, which was really long…but Anne-Marie Duff, Charles Edwards and Jason Watkins were all brilliant. The set was stunning too. Three and a half hours of theatre for a fiver (I’ve joined the Entry Pass scheme) – not too shabby!
In Voice we did more breathing and stretching exercises and then worked on the diaphragm.
In Class Scene Work, we performed our short scenes from The Constant Wife and received a bit of direction. It was a taster of what we’ll be doing in the last few weeks of term, which is when we start working to perform full scenes of a play.
After lunch was Stage Combat. After our journals were scrutinised, we recapped pushes and pulls and then started on strangling, slapping and punching. It was difficult to do without looking like we were having loads of fun!
Finally was TV in which we performed short scenes set in a restaurant (lots of complicated things like pouring ‘wine’, drinking, etc) in order to experience the demands of continuity. We had to perform the scene at least four times and be filmed from different angles while making sure we did exactly the same thing at the same time in each take. It was someone else’s job to make sure that the bottle stayed the right way round etc. I expect when we look at them next week, we’ll realise how badly we did it! At one stage, I was in charge of the continuity, so I bet in those scenes the wine bottle will be all over the place!
By the time we finished that, it was already Pub o’clock, so off we went. See you next week!