Wednesday 28th September 2016
In our session with Gary we performed duologue’s that we were set for homework. Liam and I went first. Gary had made sure to chose a script that was purposefully vague so that each pair could interpret it differently and come up with different situations the conversation could take place in, therefore getting us to think creatively. Liam and I decided that his character had gotten drunk the night before and said some horrible things to my character who was his friend. We set our piece in an office where my character worked so that we could add an extra factor of not having a full-blown argument as we were aware of the surrounding people in our scene. This meant that some of the time we said ‘sorry’ we chose to direct it out rather that to one another. We wanted a unique interpretation of the script. This was something that the class and Gary said that they particularly enjoyed about our performance. Other feedback that we got was that we were successful in building tension and that one of our strengths was that we managed to make it naturalistic and also believable with our acting. This was good as the aim of our duologues was to make them realistic and not to over play the characters. Something else that the group liked was our characters relationship was clear and held throughout. The main piece of advice that Gary gave to us was that there was one moment where Liam looked at him and gave him eye contact. This meant that the fourth wall was broken and that the tension was momentarily lost. After performing our piece, we then proceeded to watch the other pairs work. I have written my thoughts on each of these in my blog post for Wednesday 28th September 2016. But during the course of the session we learnt about ‘actors ticks’ as some people had small habits that weren’t fitting of their character and instead were just some small things they do themselves. Gary gave the advice that if we can spot these early on then its good to try to work on getting rid of them, as in acting we should be eliminating traits that define us and instead be focusing on the character and what traits and habits they would have. We also learnt that its important to be prepared with scripts as some pairs were not certain on some of their lines or hadn’t spent time blocking it. It just emphasised that rehearsing and learning the script is key. After the learning of lines it is then important to also make sure the message of your piece is gotten across as some people did this better than others.
Wednesday 5th October 2016
We began by discussing the things we do or think an actor should do when getting a new script. Firstly we said that you need to read the whole script to really understand your character and whats happening in the script. The list of things we came up with included:
- Knowing your characters back story
- The plot
- Where they have come from
- Where they are going to
- Their overall goals and also goals at each moment
- Relationships with the other characters
- Deeper meanings
- What lines or words to emphasis and stress
- The iambic pentameter if it is Shakespeare
- The location
- The plays purpose
These were the things that as a group we came up with so that you can performing it as accurately and well as possible. They also became very useful as after this we were put into pairs and given a duolouge. Bellow is the script I was given and what ill be working on for the next few weeks. Its a really gritty and interesting piece and im looking forward to experimenting with it and developing the character of Harper.
Wednesday 19th October 2016
In the script lesson, we watched the pieces Gary had previously assigned to us. We firstly watched Sabrina and Karolis who were eager to show their scene from ‘High Fidelity’. I really enjoyed how the two of them had such a clear and strong character relationship which was made clear to us through out the piece. It was a really comfortable piece to watch and they both put the audience at ease, even though they were arguing which was impressive. Sometimes the clarity did go due to both of them having heavy accents but I understand that if they had focused on accent then they may have lost the flow of the piece which made it so naturalistic. I also really liked how they positioned themselves when sitting down as the fact they lent into each other helped it to become believable. Karolis did however have an awkward moment where he stood up looking at the chair which did break the realism as it was an unnatural point for his character to be just stood the way he was. Another improvement they could work on perhaps is lines as they did loose where they were in the script at one time. Otherwise I think they did a great job with the piece they were given and both of them had clearly thought about characterisation. Jess and Justin went next and in their piece I really enjoyed their characterisation also. I thought Justin and Jess had both considered carefully how they would act as a character individually and together. I personally felt the relationship between the two characters and thought it worked well. There was however some moments where Justin lost some of the clarity in what he was saying. Jess also mimed a magazine and dropped it half way through without realising and also as she was meant to be doing a crossword, this element of their performance didn’t quite work as they physically contradicted what they were saying. Next Ryan and I performed our scene which was from a film called ‘Angels in America’ where he played ‘Joe’ and I played ‘Harper’. I had watched the film and spent a lot of time considering my character, going through Uta Hagens questions for acting, so I hoped that this would be a good performance. Bellow is the result:
From the feedback we were given, the group seemed to enjoy our piece and we got a lot of positive feedback about the execution of the lines. Justin who had seen our script and how many interruptions it had involved in it, said that we executed them exquisitely. The group and Gary agreed with this which pleased Ryan and I as we had spent a long time rehearsing to get the lines just right and for the timing of our piece to flow well. I also got a lot of lovely comments about how I performed my characters emotions and let the piece build, showing different sides to my character. We had some feedback saying that the bin may not have been the best mime and we could have left it out but this was still just a little minor thing. Gary also mentioned that I used my hands a lot when speaking quickly and that Ryan moves his eyebrows a lot which might be something we try to restrain on in the future and is advice I predicted as I felt like I used my hands more than usual in this performance particularly. Bellow is the recorded feedback in full which goes into more details.
Finally Mia and Liam showed their piece which was the longest of all the scripts. I was impressed at how even though they dropped a line, they carried on in a professional manner making it almost unnoticeable. I loved the relationship between the two characters and how they acted this, as the idea of relationship was a key part to their scene. They were very engaging with the way they spoke each line and I particularly like Liam’s interpretation of his character. I found myself laughing a large amount in their piece, purely on how well they timed the comedic lines. Overall I believe all the pairings managed to create realistic and naturalistic scenes with characters who are also believable which was our task, it also taught me a lot about myself and how my natural instinct is to use hand gestures when playing someone distressed, which I will try to control when it is unnecessary now.
Wednesday 9th November 2016
In our script lesson we looked at sight-reading/cold reading, which I have already taken so much from. It was really useful and as its something we will need for auditioning at drama schools and future auditions in general so I am sure it is a skill that will come in handy. Gary gave us an extract from a play that we were given on the spot. It was Lungs by Duncan Mc Millan which I have previously been in a production of with the Theatre Royal, playing the character ‘W’. This did give me an advantage to the rest of the class who hadn’t heard of the play before, as it was a play I knew very well and knew exactly what was happening in the scene. Never the less, Gary gave some excellent advice on what to do when you have to sight read a script and I will be trying his tips on scripts I don’t know, as I feel I couldn’t fully see how well they worked as I knew the play so well. He said you have to be quick and make sure you work out who the character is and break down general themes and emotions in the section you’re given. Then focus on the first and last line so you start and finish your piece well and confidently. He said that you don’t need to rush and if you can, annotate pauses in the script and underline things you want to emphasise. That way you are prepared when you come to reading it aloud. The punctuation is also really important when sight reading as it can help you work out how the character feels and also the tone of the piece. It can also completely change the meaning of the piece if the punctuation isn’t taken into consideration so its important to do and acknowledge. Finally something I found especially important was Gary’s advance on holding the script. He said as long as you are in character you don’t have to speak especially fast and can afford to speak slow enough to look at the next line, learn it and then be able to say it without looking at the script. He also recommended holding the script further out as it looks better than holding it close to your body and you can’t fully act that way. I used these tips when I went to Youth Theatre after college and we were given a Pinter duolouge, it really helped me and I felt much more confident having done these steps. It is something I will apply to future auditions.
Wednesday 16th November 2016
In our scripted lesson we practiced cold reading yet again. We got into boy girl pairings and then were given a script. I instantly recognised it to be from the play Equus by Peter Shaffer. This gave me an advantage again, as I knew the story and the characters already, where as my class mates did not. However it was still really useful having to read out the script out loud for the first time as the character Heaster. Bellow is Ryan’s and my cold reading of the script. One error I am aware of watching this back, is that I sat down too early and I think I played the character too casually. It might have been good to focus more on my characterisation. When watching the other pairings the people I think really did well at the task were Liam, Jess and Karolis. I think they got the character very well and had a good connection with their partners, making it more believable and easy to watch.
Wednesday 30th November 2016
Today, we specifically looked at ghost stories. We identified that voice is a huge aspect to effective story telling and in creating a suspenseful atmosphere, which is required in the telling of ghost stories. We read through two different ghost stories for the first time and tried to apply the same techniques as if it were a script. Things like the script positioning, looking up, underlining what we wanted to emphasise and looking into the punctuations meaning, helped us to really perform the pieces even though we hadn’t read them before. This meant that when we performed we were more able to emulate the traditional ghost story atmosphere.
Wednesday 7th December 2016
With Erica we looked at our casting types as individuals. For myself we concluded that I could play a younger girl, a manic pixie dream girl, an intellectual professional person, outcast at school or a nerd. We discussed the different casting stereotypes and how the roles we get given are often based on appearance and how you move and sound. We were then given scripts in small groups with opposing characters to our casting types. This proved challenging and meant that we really tested our acting skills, as we were playing characters who were completely different from ourselves and the usual characters that I normally get casted as. My group got an extract from the film ‘Mean Girls’, where Abbie played the main character Caddie, Tom played the gay best friend Damian and then I played Janice, who is rough and alternative, very unlike myself. This activity was really enjoyable and pushed us out of our comfort zones. ‘Janet’ was unlike anything I had played previously and the lesson really helped me to think outside what I usually would play and that acting was all about being versatile and being able to play a variety of characters.
Wednesday 4th January 2017
We arrived back from the christmas break and were told that we had the next week to work on ‘a side’. Gary gave us the sheet bellow which explained that slides are commonly given out in auditions and its something we should work on. It also gave some really useful tips such as to get to auditions early and to be as confident as possible when performing them. We also got told that the task we would be working on, was a slide for two girls and one male which required an american accent of our choosing and was based around the crime drama/ detective genre. I was excited by this task and got into a group with Jess and Will. Once in our group we read through the slide a few times and then had a discussion on who should play which character. We gave Will the male part as that was the logical choice and then decided that Jess should play Rosie and I would play the second detective whose name is Janesen. For determining the accent we googled the location and decided it would be nice to have the scene set in the state next to it, so that the police interrogation would make sence. Therefore we ended up setting it in Iowa and then proceeded to research and try to copy the accent. We started blocking the scene and then decided we would meet for rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday so we could practice what we had come up with off script and also finalize the blocking. We were aiming to produce a piece that was identfiable and stayed true to the detective crime drama. Due to this, we spent quite a lot of time looking at the characters and the relationship between them all. We wanted to develop back stories and have a good understanding of our characters so really looked into the script and the language they all used to describle and speak to one another. This was really useful and we managed to develop clear and strong characters from this, so it is something I will focus on the next time we are given a similar project.
Wednesday 11th January 2017
Today we performed the crime drama piece that Will, Jess and I have been practicing since last Wednesday. I am happy with the result and have loved working with the two other performers, I think we have managed to work really well together in creating three contrasting characters that bounce off each other but all have opposing objectives. It has been one of my favourite script pieces that we have looked at this year and have really gained a lot of experience about working in the crime drama genre. Bellow you can see the scene and also the comments from the rest of the group and Gary.
Wednesday 18th January 2017
We were introduced to a new task this week, where the girls will be directing the boys in a scene in which they will be performing next week. I am working with Karolis, Ryan and Mia. The play is ‘Burying Your Brother Under The Pavement’ by ‘Jack Thorne’ and the scene we have been given is between two boys named ‘Tom’ and ‘Tight’. After reading it through as a group, Mia and I casted Karolis as Tight and Ryan as Tom, as we thought that they fitted these characters best and could realistically play them. I then started to highlight, underline and make notes on the script on how I wanted it staged, the characters characterised, the physicality of the characters and any of the given stage directions. This proved really helpful and is something I will be doing again if I need to direct a scene. Bellow is my annotated script. We blocked the scene and aim to meet up as a group, once the two boys have learnt their lines to work on it further. I really enjoyed having a chance to direct as it isn’t something I have not done much of previously , but I really liked the creativity and the thought process in the role of directing. It also helps for acting, as you get a different perspective and approach to the lines and the staging.
Wednesday 22nd February 2017
In our scripted lesson today, we showed back a piece that Mia and I had directed and was acted by Ryan and Karolis. Unfortunately Ryan and Karolis didn’t learn the script as there was an interruption in the rehearsals in the form of our ‘Inspired By Film Commission’ and because of their being an extensive period of time between the last rehearsal, they had forgotten quite a few of the specific directions in which Mia and I had suggested to put into place. This did hinder the piece significantly and meant that the performance that they gave could have been much stronger. This being said, Karolis and Ryan did manage to have good proxemics. Karolis invaded Ryan’s space and Ryan physically tried to get away from him, which helped them show their character relationship clearly. This was one of the biggest positives for the piece. However the lack of line learning did stop the flow of the piece and was a contributing factor to the audience losing the connection to the characters and plot. This showed me how vital learning lines confidently is and as it is something I like to be strong on, I will be learning my lines for every piece we get given in the future. Something else that I think could have been improved on in Ryan and Karolis’s performance was how they embodied the characters. They had good characterisation but they could have gone a lot further and physically emphasised them a lot more. Ryan could have taken Mia’s and my suggestion to play Tom a lot more scared, Karolis could have been bolder and louder vocally and physically. As for Mia and I, I think that we had staged it well, interpreted the script in a good and realistic way and analysed the characters well. However we could have been more specific with the location so that we could include things such as accent and understand the dialect better. This is something I will look into next time I am challenged at directing a piece. The finer details are what makes a great piece. Next week the roles will be reversed and the girls will have to act in a piece called ‘Holloway Jones’ by Evan Placey. The boys will take charge of directing.
Wednesday 7th March 2017
Today Jess and I performed our duolouge from ‘Holloway Jones’ that we have been working on over the last two weeks. We had our props ready, thanks to Justin, who took charge of that department for this task. This meant that we were prepared and could use actual items instead of mime. I also had sourced a hoodie, tank top and leggings which is what we agreed that my character would wear. This helped me to get into character and also to look the part, which I think helped the audience in suspension of disbelief. I think that our organisation as a group was one of our overall strengths in this scripted task. We managed to meet up several times over the last couple of weeks and worked hard at getting the scene to be in the best place that it possibly could be. As for the group of boys that directed our piece, I think that Will took charge and was the one to contribute most to directing us. He asked us questions to help us characterise and also gave us some good ideas for staging. Justin was also another person, who in this task I think did well with directing. He made lots of lists on all the props and costume pieces we would need, then managed to find lots of them himself. Both Justin and Will had a very good attitude towards the task and benefited the end result massively. Liam and Eren however, could have imputed more ideas and weren’t always there at our rehearsals, when we clearly alerted them to the times and dates. Although we understood as a group that they had lots of coursework to catch up on, they still hindered our performance and they may have had some valuable ideas that we could have used to make our performance even better, If they had put more time and energy into the ‘Holloway Jones’ piece.
From the feedback and watching back the performance that Jess and I gave, I think that we did a really good job of making the scene naturalistic. That may be down to the research we did into our characters and the amount of time we dedicated into rehearsals. I think this was a contributing factor as to how we managed to give a believable and realistic performance. Jess and I did a lot of experimentation with our characters and looking into their not so stereotypical mother and daughter relationship. We wanted to get across the fact that they are related, but also the challenges and difficulties they have in their relationship. To get this across to our audience, we tried to show the changes of power which occur throughout the piece. I think we successfully showed and created this relationship. Another difficulty we faced in this piece, was the fact that I had to play someone younger than myself and Jess had to act someone who is much older than her. Luckily the boys casted me in the younger role and Jess in the older role, as Jess looks older than myself, so it helped again in making the scene believable. However I think I also found a certain vulnerability in the character, which also helped to show I was playing someone young, with out over acting the child. For what I think I could improve on, I think that I wasn’t as good at sustaining the London accent and if I were to do the piece again, this is something I would try to focus on making more truthful. Over all I am happy with how the piece turned out and I also really enjoyed working with Jess, as I feel like I act well with her and we can always find a good connection with our characters when we perform.
After we had performed, we then got our next task from Gary. Each group would have a director and then they would have to direct two pairs in a new scene. It was ‘Tennessee Williams’ play called ‘The Glass Menagerie’. I have not previously read the play, but I do know the play write, as my AS drama piece was from ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ which he also wrote. I was paired with Will and he will be playing the character of ‘Joe’ and I will be playing ‘Laura’. We were then told that we had two weeks to read the play, watch a performance of it online, research the characters and then perform the scene that he had given us. I am looking forward into finding out more about the play, as I really enjoyed working on ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ and I have heard that this play is in a similar style.
Tuesday and Wedneday 13th/14th March 2017
You can see in my blogs on the 13th and 14th March 2017, that my group met up to do a read through for our section of the script ‘The Glass Menagerie’. Justin is our director and he chose for Ryan and Jess to do the first part our the duologue and then for Will and I to take over for the second half. We read through the piece we had been given to study and found out a lot about how we wanted to play the characters of ‘Laura’ and ‘Jim’. We found that ‘Laura’ is incredibly shy and has suffered with Plurosis. This is something I will have to look into and research, in order to understand the character better and then hopefully I will play her in a much more realistic and truthful way. I also plan on reading the play and watching the film over the weekend for even more research. Also knowing the whole play will give our piece context and we will give a much more knowledgable and informed performance. This will also help us with the blocking of the script and also with our characterisation. Also when reading through the script, we highlighted any stage directions, mentions of props and costume. We want to make our piece as accurate as possible and therefore we plan on staying as true to the script as we can do. We realise we have limitations, what with only having two weeks and also limited resources, however we will still do our best to give a naturalistic performing of the piece. We have also planned out our rehearsal schedule for this piece. We want to take advantage of the hour we have with Gary tomorrow and plan on bringing up any questions we have. We will then start to block and also rehearse. Then we will take Tuesday and Wednesday mornings next week, to go over our piece once we have done more research and learnt the lines over the weekend. That way we should be ready to perform at our deadline. Our group then blocked the scene and then I went through the script and annotated it. I put my lines in pink, stage directions in blue, any mention of costume, set or props in red and then any character notes in purple. I have learnt that I learn things much better if I order them and colour coordinate, It also helps my understanding of the text, so I try to do this with every script that I get. Below you can see my copy of the script and how I chose to annotate it. I am happy with how I chose to do this and I think that it will be really helpful in dissecting the script and already I feel as though I am coming more to grips with the characters and the pragmatics and emotions they are feeling. I feel as though the blocking we achieved today was good, but I think that once we have read the entire play and watched the film, we can improve upon what we have already created, to make it even better.
Tuesday 21st March 2017
In the morning, I met up with Will and together we did a line run of ‘The Glass Menagerie’, which we are doing a section of for Gary’s scripted lesson. As we are performing it tomorrow, we wanted to see if we were solidly off the book. Once we had gone through the lines and refreshed ourselves on the accent, we then went through the whole piece with its blocking. It still needs some work, as there were times it felt a little unnatural and also that we could improve on it, so we are planning to dedicate tomorrow morning on working on it also. That way we will feel more prepared to perform for our scripted lesson. I have however, really enjoyed looking into the character of ‘Laura’ and I think that now I have seen the film, it has given me a greater understanding of the character. It also gave me a chance to look at how someone else interpreted the character and portrayed her. It has also inspired me with some of the gestures and the intonations in what she says. We then showed Jess and Ryan, who are doing the first section of the scene, what we had come up with so far, It was really useful to hear what they had to say about how we had positioned ourselves and characterised. It was especially interesting and useful to hear their opinions on how we could emphasise certain words for effect, which I thought was a good suggestion. It was also add more dynamics to our piece.
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Today we performed the section of the script ‘The Glass Menagerie’ that we have been working on for the last two weeks. Ryan and Jess performed their half of the script and then Will and I took over to perform the second part. Over all I am happy with how I characterised ‘Laura’. I think I improved on my accent from previous pieces that required an American accent, which may be due to the fact I have had more time to work on it and practice. On top of this, I also used a soft spoken voice, which I think worked well and fitted the shyness of ‘Laura’, as it shows her lack of self confidence. This was especially effective as it was an intimate audience who where physically sitting close to the performance. If this was performed in a normal theatre, then I would have to project more, in order for the audience to be able to hear every word that I said but for this showing, it worked well. Something else that I think that I did well in with my characterisation, was my gestures and what I did with my hands. I think that as ‘Laura’ is shy and reserved around people, it was a good addition to the character, as it is a nervous tick that a lot of people have. There are some moments however, that when I watched our performance back, I think I slightly over did the ‘shy acting’. At the start of the piece especially, I looked down and performed to the floor. This was a character choice I made on purpose, I thought that it would show how uncomfortable ‘Laura’ feels around people, which is to a higher extent than usual as she really likes ‘Jim’. However when watching it back, i’m not sure it came across as effectively as I hoped. This may be due to the fact that it wasn’t very natural and also meant that the audience struggled to see my face at certain points. The fact I was also sitting on the floor at this point didn’t help with this either as it emphasised the looking down.
Another element that I think we did well at, was creating the atmosphere and performing in a truthful and naturalistic way. Something that I think helped us to do this was knowing where every thing was in the room that we had created. We had a clear visual in our minds of how Laura’s’ living room looked, which Will and I established early on. This meant we could create a visual for the audience to imagine. We also spent a lot of time working on the connection of ‘Jim’ and ‘Laura’. We got a lot of feedback saying that the relationship was very truthful, which made the audience feel relaxed and at ease when watching our performance. Gary described it as a ‘tender relationship’, which was exactly what we were aiming to have. I think that the fact we didn’t over act the relationship and spent so much time looking into the reasons why ‘Jim’ and ‘Laura’ say what they do, helped us to create this.
Something I would have liked to add to our piece, would be more pauses and moments of silence. When I watched it back, there were parts which felt a little rushed and I think that we could have afforded to have more pauses. I think this would have been really effective at emphasising the awkwardness, especially after the kiss. If we had a moment of silence here, it would have given ‘Laura’ time to glow and feel the happiness of being kissed for the first time. It would also have made it worse to see her crumble after having a moment of happiness, when she is rejected and ‘Jim’ says he can’t be with her. Over all I think we achieved a lot in the two weeks, and I learnt a lot from watching back Will’s and my performance. Its very different seeing us perform from an audiences perspective than from what we see when we perform. I think next time we get a script to look at, it may be useful to film our rehearsals too, that way we can work on things that we might not necessarily notice without seeing it from an audiences point of view.
Wednesday 29th March 2017
In our scripted lesson with Gary, we were given a new script to work on, It is a comedy scene which I will be performing with Karolis and then again with Ryan. It is an American side, with two characters. I will be playing ‘Ms Duffy’ and they will play ‘Eddie’. We are planning on disecting and working on how we want to characterise our chatacters over Easter and then we can meet up for rehearsals when we return to college.
Wednesday 19th April 2017
For our scripted lesson, we performed the side in which Gary had given us to look at last week. It was two scenes from ‘Til Death, Separate Beds’. Ryan wasn’t there so I will have to perform with him again next week but I still performed what I had worked on with Karolis. Im really happy about this as it gives me a chance to work on the feedback I was given and to improve upon my performance. However in the performance I did with Karolis, I am really happy with my accent work, characterisation and also the character relationship that we formed. We created two consistent and opposite characters and worked well together. We had good organisation skills and successfully met up to rehearse on multiple occasions between last week and today. Something else I think that we managed to do well, is to keep the scene realistic and believable, even though it was an American sit com sketch. This may be due to the fact that we didn’t play out the scene for laughs but instead treated it as any other scene. We tried to feel our characters emtions and to see where they were coming from and why they were saying what they were. This helped us as we knew their intentions and understood why they were in the situation they are in. Something that I want to work on with Ryan for next week, is finding the light and shade in the piece. I was trying so hard to remain a consistant character in the two scenes but I feel as though I could have worked on playing her differently in the two scenes, as one she is angry and the other she has the controll and the power. This will be my main focus for next week.