The title of this blog post isn’t 100% accurate, as I have been involved in many shows before. However these shows have been musicals; all singing and dancing. Never in any of my previous shows has the focus been on acting… in fact it was usually the last thought and actually the dialogue, in between the big numbers, was just filler whilst the main dancers got into their next costume!
I know you may be thinking “well you’ve got to act whilst singing and dancing”, but to me, that was totally different, as the lyrics and dance moves often told the majority of the story. But to just purely focus on the acting is much more of a challenge, as everything you do – your speech, movement, facial expressions and body language has to be convincing enough for the audience to understand the play.
Just under three months ago I signed up to the York Theatre Royal’s ‘Adult Theatre Workshops’. A ten week acting course that led to a performance at the end of the workshop. The theme was ‘Love and Death’ and was directed by the super talented and inspirational Michael Lambourne. Michael had asked the public to submit to him micro-plays, lasting no more than 5 minutes, about love and death, the majority of these were duologues. In our first classes we read through these original plays and were asked to pick our favourites. We were then assigned to two of these scripts and paired with a different actor for each, and this is when the fun, yet hard work commenced.
Even though all thirty plays had the same theme, they were all vastly different and challenging in their own way. We were asked to really study both scripts with our partner and pull it to pieces, to enable us to thoroughly understand the piece. Michael allowed us to interpret them for ourselves, however most scripts had a completely different interpretation once we had really thought about the texts. With Michael’s gentle push into the right direction, this was a real eye opener to discover.
My first script, titled Birthday Wishes by R. Thomson, explored how social media impacts on grieving after the death of a young sister and how this affects the other two siblings in their mourning.
Lonely Hearts by T Strasz was my second play which was a speed date with a significant difference. The ‘daters’ were not looking for love, but in fact quite the opposite, death.
Michael Lambourne was an excellent director but not only that he was a brilliant motivator, confidence builder, teacher and also our biggest fan! He wanted us to push ourselves and really take a leap by ensuring that we kept a fast-pace throughout and grabbed the audience’s attention from the very beginning.
We performed “30 Little Plays About Love and Death” at the Friargate Theatre York, for two nights – 30th and 31st March. Due to it being the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, I was quite nervous, therefore only invited my mum and dad to watch; they did so on the first night.
The first performance was a success, even though I was extremely nervous. There was no noticeable mistakes and the audience were very responsive. However I felt like it wasn’t my best performance and I had done it better in rehearsals due to my nerves.
On the second night, we did some acting exercises to prepare us for our final show and I entered the stage much more relaxed and confident. I feel both of my scenes went even better this time around and I left the stage buzzing with excitement, yet with a hint of sadness that it was all over.
It is DEFINITELY something that I want to be part of again and want to continue developing my skills. It has also affirmed my decision to study my theatre degree in October at university!