Friday, 18 September 2009

A Large Trigorin And Tonic Please (Part 1)

Before I start this update, a note for the regular readers, you now need to concentrate a tiny bit more, as I am writing two series of blogs which will run alongside each other for the next few weeks. The first which was written a couple of days ago, is about my courses at Saddlers Wells on a Sunday. This new series of blogs refer to my course on a Thursday at RADA. Whilst I am sure the coming weeks will bare some resemblances to one another, the courses are very different and refer to two very different plays which we will be performing.

The follow on course for the initial set of classes I took before the summer would be one step further down the road to a career in theatre, well at least thats how I see things. It would be a long road, but I am determined to keep to it and find the success which comes at the end of it. Talking of roads, knowing my friend Vikas would also be part of the course, it lead me to think as well as taking a few steps down the path to theatre stardom, we would also be staggering a few steps down the road to the local pub. This guy has a reputation to uphold! Remember the "Vikas After School Club"? If Not I will refresh your memory in due course. It became a regular activity in the first wave of classes, and I had no doubt that the trend would continue.

Unlike the first classes, this would be a bit more focused on acting rather than just exploring techniques. I like the idea of a more structured and focused approach as you feel that you have achieved a lot more over the 2 months of taking the course.

We would pretty much base the next eight weeks around one particular theatrical piece using the experience which we gained prior to this. The play we would work on is a piece called "The Notebook Of Trigorin". Though it is relatively modern, it's roots can be traced back to the revolutionary Chekhov play "The Seagull", which was adapted by a gentleman called Tennessee Williams into the script which we would be working from in class. Although over 100 years old "The Seagull" has set the standards for acting in modern day productions as at the time it explored new mediums of performance which were diverse and different. These new methods of acting are now what we see and take for granted in modern theatre. But hey, this is a blog not a history lesson so if you want to know more go use google or something! So yes the adaptation of this was called "The Notebook Of Trigorin" and thats what we would be studying.

There were some familiar faces this evening as well as some new ones. It was nice seeing a handful of people from the old classes. It is a testament to how well we gelled as a group to see all of us back together once more. Felt like being back at school after the summer holidays. The space we had this time however was at RADA, which frankly is much easier for me to reach compared to Swiss Cottage where i took the beginners course. Its nice to work in such a professional space like RADA, though I must say the building looks much more glamorous from the outside than it does from the inside. Furthermore a pole in the middle of our rehearsal space is somewhat awkward at times! But hey lets not get too hung up on these little things so early on. Who knows with my new found dancing abilities I could take up pole dancing by the end of this course too!

As ever the first week is about familiarising ourselves with one another and the techniques we would be using within the course. We addressed the idea of soft focus, which teaches you to be loosely conscious of what everyone is doing around you rather than having a sharp focus on just one person. Imagine walking in a line. If you have to keep an equal distance from the person in front of you, your focus will be solely on that individual, as it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. However if you focus on everyones movements, our focus is less defined and concentrated and therefore becomes soft focus. Its rather difficult to explain but was very interesting to explore.

We went on to look at the history of the play we would be studying. Split into two groups we performed a short improvised piece. We were given a lot of freedom to chose the characters we would play, however the scene would be set in the theatre bar after the very first showing of either the original play "The Seagull" or the Tennessee Williams adaptation "The Notebook Of Trigorin". The concept of the improvisation would be to convey what happened at those very first shows. Believe it or not "The Seagull" which was my groups improvisation piece, has become a legendary play in theatre despite having a disastrous opening night. In short our group had to convey that the first night had been disastrous and show how one mans inspiration took this disaster and turned it into triumph.

I think overall our performance conveyed what happened quite well. It lacked some of the enthusiasm and flamboyance an improvisation piece needs to inspire an audience fully, but for something pieced together in ten minutes flat it did the job. Working with new people for the first time can also be a little difficult as it takes a while to suss out peoples personalities and abilities within acting. With regards to my individual performance, I was ok, maybe not as good as I was on Sunday at Saddlers Wells where we had a similar task, but thats life. You win some, you lose some and the rest of the time you just blend in withe crowd. Today I just blended in.

So in all it was a productive class. We have started to develop a sense of where the next seven weeks are headed. As for where we headed after class... it was to the "Vikas After School Club" of course. We found a nice little pub, the staff are friendly and the beer is cold. After kicking out time when only me and Vikas remained, we headed to KFC which would prove to be a terrible decision. Not only are KFC chips awful, this delay caused me to miss my last train home which ended in a long walk, a taxi ride and huge dent in my wallet!

So thats class 1 at RADA summarised. Keep checking back for new blogs and of course part two next week, where hopefully I will get back home before the clock strikes 3am!

G xxx

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