September 8, 2013

Week 4

By Robert
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Half way through the Autumn Term! Here’s the round-up:


First up this week was Voice and the class in which we bought our ‘bone props’. ‘What’s that?’ I hear you cry. Well, it’s a small specially-designed piece of plastic which fits between your teeth in order to assist in elocution exercises. The class subsequently involved us trying to produce sounds and recite special pieces of text using this device. It was rather like the scene in My Fair Lady where Eliza swallows a marble (our bone props were attached to an attractive ribbon that went round our necks to stop it happening to us).

In Acting we were ‘starfished’; an exercise which is designed to help us engage with our emotions and be able to switch them on and off. There was quite a range of reactions to it from the group.

Movement saw us continue to build up our repertoire of dance styles including working on our ‘modern’ American Civil War-based dance (nice bits of standing still for us boys!)

In Character, we ‘hotseated’ (Q&A in character) the characters we’d been working on since our last class (developed from someone we’d seen out and about). In an attempt to avoid the kind of broad caricature I often fall into, I tried to go for The World’s Most Normal Estate Agent. There was a fascinating mix of comic and serious characters presented in the session from the others in the group. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the Q&A entirely un-humorous but I gave it a go!


Back to Character and this time we were paired up to develop semi-improvised scenes with our characters and their first meeting. My The World’s Most Normal Estate Agent had to deal with a very difficult new client who wanted to rent out her spare room despite clearly being too eccentric for it to be a good idea. There were some hilarious pairings and some very clever ways to bring diverse characters together.

Radio saw us move on to performing full scenes (these from the BBC Radio 4 adaptations of Anthony Trollope novels) crowded round the microphone. Doing the background chatter was fun too!

After lunch, we were starfished again in Acting before a Theatre History lesson in which we continued our exploration of the pagan and Christian influences on story-telling and the different types of stories that were common in different parts of Europe. We also looked at the Mystery Play and Miracle Play traditions. There was also a fun moment where our tutor and I sang Now Is The Month Of Maying to the bemusement of the others!


The day started with Character again and we got to see what happened to the pairs of characters several months down the line. Darren the Really Average Estate Agent found himself at the house of the eccentric client in order to help her rent it out with quite amusing consequences (so much for a more serious portrayal… Another time!).

In Improvisation, we worked on trying to establish key details of who, what and where at the beginning of a scene as quickly as possible. Cue lots of timid improvised duologues! Lots of fun though.

In Yoga, we did some yoga, but I’d forgotten my Kirsty Gallagher two-tone mat in black and black. Nevertheless this did not stop me finding out that being sportingly-challenged has its benefits. Turns out having no muscles helps you be a bit bendy. Who knew!?


A later start today and a lecture on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in preparation for seeing it at The Globe that afternoon. It was an amazing experience going to the Globe for the first time (of many – cant wait to go back) and the production was hilarious. I hardly noticed I was standing for three hours as a groundling. Loved every minute.


In Stagecraft, we were taught about and practised greetings from throughout history. With only three of us boys in the class, we met people a lot!

In TV, we watched the scenes we’d performed last week and it was pretty uncomfortable watching. I realised I need to do an awful lot less when we devise our own scenes next week.

In Stage Combat we practised what we did last week and then added in variants on slapping and punching (including missing) for when you’re positioned side-on to an audience.


Today I went to have my headshots done. I took along black and white t-shirts and shirts and also a blue one to get a mix of styles and casting types. I’ll talk more about it when they come through and I put them up here, but it was quite a fun experience. Hope they come out okay!


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