Just back from my trip to the States, I managed to sleep from 8 pm till 3.30 am, so here I am…
And I am inspired! So much rich inspiration at the VASTA Conference in New York, catching up with the work of Kristen Linklater, Catherine Fitzmaurice and Patsy Rodenburg,(in workshops) and Arthur Lessac (4 weeks short of his 100th birthday) gave a totally wonderful, political and joyous Keynote speech. He actually danced down the aisle to receive his Lifetime Honorary Member plaque!
I collected my copy of the latest Voice and Speech Review, dedicated to “The Moving Voice”, and an article by Marya Lowry has reminded me just how far our voices will take us, inwards and outwardly, if we allow them the space and size of our imaginations. So –
Not only will be working on our Archetypal qualities, physical and vocal, but they will be HUGE. We will be playing with some of the lamentation work I did with Marya six years ago, Frankie Armstrong’s Voices of the Archetypes and the Roy Hart work I have done with many wonderful teachers and performers over the years. There will be much laughter, and many adventurous explorations.
And in a day or two I will report on the performance of The Fall of June Bloom which I gave at the conference with my amazing co-actors, John Graham and Micha Espinosa. Suffice it to say, for now, that it was very well received…
Now that you’ve chosen a monologue to work with, here are some thoughts and ideas about how to begin to approach the text.
Start by thinking about, and acknowledging where you want to end up – sounding as if you know what you are talking about – sounding as if you are the character who actually speaks those specific words because they express what the character needs to say at that moment.
Rather than trying to ‘do acting’ at the beginning, begin by getting familiar with the actual words, by taking the time to say those words clearly, honestly and specifically.
I’ve chosen a short passage from Romeo and Juliet, but the same principle applies to contemporary text, to ALL text.
Jean Marc’s comment on yesterday’s class: “as to the process … it just mystifies me … a sort of magic!” remind me of the old saying about good luck, how it seems to happen more to people who work hard. Yes, acting that is alive and exciting and involving for both performer and audience does seem to come about as if by magic. But we know how much work has to go in to getting it to that stage. What is really important is the kind of work, and I am so pleased to see you all engaging with such commitment to the different tools and techniques I’m spreading in your path.
Yesterday, after a very thorough warm-up through the training exercises, we approached our text work first as words on the page – which they undoubtedly are – then as words which actually meant something very specific to each of us, by exploring the literal meanings of the words and phrases themselves – and finally as sounds expressing something from within. That ‘something’ was not nothing, it was what the words meant, informed by your personal physicality and focus at the point of speaking. And sometimes, as if by magic, it felt like – what? ‘Just’ saying the words? Oh my, what a world of humanity there can be in a ‘just’, when the preparation has been done.