Seatbelts on folks, here comes Week 5:
Voice: Worked through a new warm up routine covering all the stuff we’ve done over the term (breathing, vocal exercises etc). A handy new way to start the day from now on!
Acting: Started off with some games. After a heavy couple of lessons in Acting, this was a lighter lesson to finish Acting classes this term. We then did some improvisation exercises using different ‘energy levels’ (ranging from ‘lethargic’ to ‘bossy’ via ‘playful’ and ‘paranoia’ with several others in between). I found myself having to play a bossy man at a racecourse getting into an argument with two others in the scene. It was really intimidating being required to be the driving force in the scene.
Movement: we had to perform the dances we’d been working on to our tutor. Worked on a 1960’s swing/rock’n’roll style dance which was loads of fun!
Character: in threes, we were given a photo which gave us the ending tableau of a scene which we had to devise. Ours recreated an imaginary disaster moment on the apprentice when we lost the laptop with the PowerPoint presentation and the ways in which we tried to get away with it.
Laban: no, I didn’t know what it was either, but it turns out to be a way of analysing movement. We did a lot of moving. It was exhausting. Then we were paired up and studied how our partner walked around the room and attempted to copy it. Strange experience!
Movement: this time we worked on a more minimalist piece based on ideas from Pinter plays. We were all very grateful that it wasn’t as full-on as usual as we had no energy left after Laban.
Radio: we all rehearsed a cut-down version of a play about newly-graduated twenty-somethings in order to record on Wednesday.
Theatre History: building towards Shakespeare, we started a study of the Plantagenets (ready for our study of Shakespeare’s history plays). It was like being back at prep school!
Singing: continued work on our pop song mashup.
Radio: we recorded the play and listened to it back. I might have overacted a little bit…
Character: we had been preparing a character inspired by a picture we were given in the previous lesson. I made the decision to try to be completely serious all the way through our hotseating/Q&A. My character was an aspiring artist who loves Stanley Spencer and who got into art when he used to go to the art block at school to avoid bullies. It was difficult to perform because I like the immediate response of an audience laughing but I think it went well and I don’t think it was boring!
Impro: we worked on developing a story and not going off on a tangent. Then we continued with last week’s work on setting up a platform for an improvised scene, getting the key information out as soon as possible and not ‘blocking’ the ‘offers’ (improvised lines, questions or information) by disagreeing or negating what they’ve said.
Scene Study: at the end of term, we will perform duologues to the rest of the year. Today we had our first ‘rehearsal’ where we met our director and read through the plays our scenes come from. After lunch we found out our casting and began work with our scene partners. I am playing Charlie from Breathing Corpses by Laura Wade. It’s a dark and funny play. It is implied that my character is a murderer with an obsession with Japanese knives. I’ve spent the weekend researching the part and reading about similar cases so I hope Google doesn’t think something’s up!
TV: this week we’d had to watch Coronation Street and prepare a scene to perform using non-specific lines given to us my our tutor. My partner and I cobbled together a scene in which a young woman comes to her spiritual guru for some relationship advice but all he’s interested in is money. We were worried it might not be serious or subtle enough compared to other people’s so were pleasantly surprised when our tutor liked it! We’ll get to see it next week…
Combat: more fighting. I’m not very good at it!
Theatre History: the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors. History’s complicated.
Storytelling: we were split into pairs and told each other a story of a turning point or significant moment in our life and then had to tell our partner’s story to the rest of the class. It was odd how much responsibility we felt telling someone else’s story! There were some very funny and some very emotional stories. It was a great session and I’m really looking forward to next week.
Impromptu day trip to a cold, grey Brighton where Bridget and I had lunch at a restaurant called Food For Friends which we found looking for a gluten-free friendly restaurant. It’s also vegetarian. The food was spectacular. Really really delicious! On the subject of gluten-free friendly places to eat in Brighton, Catwalk Cakes does some amazing cakes and a very tasty afternoon tea which we enjoyed before a spontaneous visit to the Theatre Royal (lovely) to see Go Back for Murder by Agatha Christie (not her best). It was a really enjoyable evening with some good performances and a particularly good soundtrack.
This coming week I’ll be seeing Michael Grandage’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Sheridan Smith and David Walliams as well as Dennis Kelly’s Royal Court debut play, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas. Exciting!