So maybe it wasn’t the best idea to sign up for a semester highly focused on Shakespeare when I have no idea what iambic pentameter is. In my defense, I have been very vocal about letting everyone know that I am completely at a loss when it comes to this concept. This week, I found out that everyone assumed I had learnt it and just didn’t really get it, as opposed to: I went to French school and we never learnt Shakespeare or Iambic Pentameter! Luckily George made it a learning exercise by having students explain to me, then the exercise for them to get a better understanding of it introduced me to it, and now I finally understand what iambic pentameter is. Which might seem like a really small accomplishment, but I feel like so many things make so much more sense to me now.
In stage combat, we started using the sword and dagger, which is an arm workout and a half. The teacher himself came over to be my partner for a while until he was sure I had every part right, which was scary, but fun. My normal partner lets me get away with things, but he did not.
Singing really wasn’t good this week. I can blame it on being busy or not knowing how the song goes, but the truth is that I just didn’t put in the effort. Knowing that I struggle more than the others in singing should make me ensure that every other part that I can control (the words and the character) are flawless, which they were not this week. On the bright side, I never want to feel that guilty and slightly ashamed again, so I am pretty sure I will know all my songs backwards and forwards from now on.
Dance class was fun, as always, although I am realizing that I am really not as great as I thought I was at remembering the steps. I either need to write them down or practice between classes, especially since we might be getting another social dance night before the official dance night with the entire school. I say another, because on Tuesday, all of the semester students, as well as everyone in the first year of the 3 year acting program gathered to dance together. Some dances I knew, others I thought I did and clearly didn’t, but whether I was flawless in my steps or absolutely going the wrong way, I had a fabulous time 🙂
We got a masterclass on the painted men and women of the restoration period, including a demonstration on one of the guys in our class. It was hilarious, not just seeing it on someone I know, but imagining that this is how people tried to look during that period, and how they kept wearing the lead based makeup, caking it on heavier to hide the signs that it was killing them instead of stopping…
On Friday, I realized that it was a week since I had started standing in the superhero pose instead of with my arms crossed, and tried to see if I noticed a difference. More due to this knowledge than to my standing position, I found myself spending the day volunteering for things and going up first even when I really didn’t want to. This let me find out that I have a lot of difficulty with the ‘lot’ sound in RP, although Molly told me that when I stood in the middle of the circle and said my lines (the thing I went up first for) it was the loudest and clearest she had heard me speak since she met me. As for the rest of the day, we played games and put up a scene in Acting with Nick, who was replacing Debbie, before I wore a mask and tried to show the class a forest. Still really don’t get the concept, because of all of the contradictions, but apparently I really smile a lot when I watch an imaginary butterfly fly.
As for rehearsals, this was our first week with Robert, working on Comedies of Manner. These have been my most physical days, where we spend hours doing warm-ups, which involve lots of bouncing and swinging our arms. Everything has a point, and I can feel the difference after we do them, but it’s crazy for someone like me, who is used to school being sitting at a desk taking notes, to spend so much time working with my body, which is usually what makes me more self-conscious than anything else. It was always physical activity, and then speaking in public that terrified me the most in school. I absolutely loved everything written. So this reversal is interesting, and really good for me, but also something I am having to get used to.
We have already been cast in our smaller scenes, as well as in the big, ensemble scenes. In the first one, I play Lucy in the Rivals. I had wanted to be one of the young lovers, but ended up with the maid, which might be why I didn’t find the time to work on it as much as I should have before Thursday. It was when we did the reading that I regretted not reading the full play and doing more character work. All I could see was that she was the maid, and kept leaving the scene, which really shouldn’t have bothered me even if all I had was one line, because we are working on building an ensemble here. Thursday I realized that even though she is of a lower class than the other characters, and does frequently leave the scene, she is also a really interesting character, who definitely plays a role in the story, even if you don’t always see it, and she even has a monologue at the end of the scene. They say there are no small parts, only small actors, and I don’t want to be a small actor. Especially when I have a role like Lucy to work on. So I have spent a lot of my weekend reading plays and doing research and getting to know Lucy.
The first time we read the scene, I did it with my novice version of RP, since some of my text was written in a way that implies an accent, but no one else used an accent, so I stopped. I kind of regret that, looking back, because I shouldn’t let what others do affect me, but it did. On Thursday, there were a few of us using the accent, and Robert asked some of the people who weren’t using it to try. So, next time, even if I am alone, if I want to use an accent and it works with the scene, I will.
As for the non class-related stuff, I went to see 3 LAMDA shows this week. The Wild Duck and No Quarter I had never heard of before and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress I did a scene from for my first Tom Todoroff workshop. Not to mention that all of the semester students did the background voices for it. I found myself judging the acting more than just whether or not I liked the play (which is what I usually do), probably because these are students studying at the school I am also studying at. All in all, the plays were amazing, the casts were incredibly talented, and I smile every time I run into them in the hallways at school 😉
Then, this weekend, in honor of Nutella Day, I had a Strawberry, Banana and Nutella Crepe at Portobello Road Market. I also gave up on trying to stumble upon the filming locations from Notting Hill and finally looked them up, before hunting them down. Here are the door to Will’s apartment, the bookstore that inspired the Travel Book Shop from the movie, as well as the location they used for filming. I did not, however, run into Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”