So its a Thursday night which of course finds me back at RADA for an evening of drama related frolics. I was quite looking forward to this evening, after the success of last weeks session. There was however a lingering thought in the back of my mind that with the exception of Les Miserables, I am not really a fan of "classical theatre" (which is what we are studying), though this said I really enjoyed our brief encounter with "The Notebook of Trigorin" a week ago, the question is whether or not this play would grow or tire on me.
My problem with classical theatre is that it sometimes starts to bore me when I study it, which leads to me losing the drive to succeed. If I had to do eight weeks on Shakespeare for example, I think I would die. Looking back in history, I do often wish William Shakespeare would have become a milkman... a postman, or something like that... well anything other than a play write really. Macbeth for GCSE... that was awful, hell it was verging on child abuse subjecting us to that. Bad times!
I mentioned Les Miserbles... Stylistically I should hate everything about this show based upon my theatrical tastes and choices in life. But somehow I don't hate it at all, in fact I love it to pieces. It does however take a lot of concentration when watching the show, compared to lighter hearted productions such as Avenue Q which you can just sit back and enjoy. For some shows this is a real downer but for Les Miserables, such a degree of concentration is a very small price to pay, as the rewards are fantastic. The show is immensely powerful, full of heart and passion with a moving twist to the story. On the other hand, anything by William Shakespere is still shit! Though I will admit I was tempted to go see Jude Law in Hamlet. That was getting some great reviews, but its closed now... so I guess that won't be seeing it afterall. Interestingly at that same theatre The Shawshank Redemption is opening. That could make for some interesting viewing.
I have gone off at tangent again haven't I? So back to my evening of drama. We started with another name game to familiarise ourselves with one another once more. Needless to say, I was completely shit at this. remembering my name proves difficult at times, let alone remembering anybody elses. Especially when I have three different classes a week all with different people... soooooo many names!
Well we soon got on to some real acting which started looking at the characters in the play followed by a study of the first two scenes. Interestingly I got to play the part of Trigorin in both tasks. Ok... that fact alone wasn't interesting at all. What was interesting was how my characterisation of the role evolved from the first task. We have a really strong group, there were a few faces missing, but honestly I think everyone who was there last night was fantastic.
The task at foot was to perform a short scene from the play which was a conversation between two characters. The twist to this task was that although we had the script, we were given no real information on the characters or the setting for the scene. Why was this so? The concept was that we would need to read into our characters more in order to discover this. I like it this way, as when everything is spoon fed to you, it all feels rather false. Rachael had the part of a character called Nina. Nina is an aspiring young actress who has her heart set on becoming huge in Russian theatre much like her love rival Arcadina. Me on the other hand, as I already mentioned, I played the part of Trigorin. Trigorin is an established play write in Russia and is caught in a manic love triangle which he feels is damaging his work. I have to be honest, after this piece, although performed well by both myself and Rachael, I hadn't quite got my head round the characters background. Would this all become more apparent in our second task? Well yes...
As you can imagine in eight weeks it really isn't possible to study and perform the play in full. So in order to start getting our heads round the storyline of the play, the class was split into two. The groups were given a summery of one of the four acts that make up the play. Our group had act two. The task in short was to perform a short piece that summarises the key points in the story. We were given the freedom to perform this in any style we liked, as long as we kept to the character names and didn't stray away too far from the plays settings. We performed a mime with a narrator, and added slight comical edge to the performance. Nothing too brash, we just wanted to lighten it up a little bit.
I was really rather happy with how the performance came across. We spent a lot of time talking through the concept and very little time rehearsing it, but somehow it worked. I'm a bit concerned that everything is going so well actually. This means I am either beginning to truly find myself within drama or i have been really lucky. I am going to go with lucky... I can back this with evidence... at the Vikas after school club (aka the pub), I didn't have to buy one drink! Now thats what I call a good night out and rather lucky indeed!
Anyway a special blog coming your way tomorrow which will feature Eliot Carrington and Tanner Pfluger's final show in Billy Elliot the musical. Look out for it!