Songs and Sweet Airs

This was the name of our singing concert that we had on Wednesday, but I will start with the beginning of the week 🙂
On Monday, the beginning of our voice class was spent embodying the images in our speeches, which really tests how well you understand what you’re saying, before I got to watch others perform their monologues. We also watched the last monologues in Debbie’s class, and rehearsed a bit for our duologues. Lucy and I are doing a scene with Emilia and Desdemona from Othello. It seems that almost all of my roles here at LAMDA are servants of some kind, but luckily, most of them have a lot more, and some strength, to them.

On Tuesday, our first day of rehearsals since being cast, I was not called once, so I had the day off. I took advantage of my day by going to the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert Museums, Kensington Palace, and the Peter Pan statue. I also got to see what the Portobello Road Market looks like on a weekday, and spent a lot of time learning lines, and reading the 3 Tragedies that the people in my program will be performing (Julius Caesar, Timon of Athens, Troilus and Cressida).
On Wednesday, we chose our songs and worked on them in class, before Alexander and Historical Dance. We were only 12 in class, so we learnt Grimstock, which is done in groups of 6. Sydney was my partner, and for possibly the first time this semester, I really felt like I had it, not just the steps, but even the doubles. It was a really good class 🙂
At lunch, Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Rogue One, etc.) came and gave a talk about working in the industry and so on. He had some really insightful things to say, not only about the business, but about how he goes about preparing for auditions and roles. I now have 3 pages of his wisdom in my notebook.
Then, Wednesday Afternoon was Songs and Sweet Airs, where we each had to present a song to the other students in the program, as well as a few members of faculty. I know that I am getting better at the singing, but I am still not good, and most of the people there wouldn’t know how much I have improved, they will only see how much I am lacking. I compared the nerves I had to going on stage to perform when you haven’t learnt any of your lines. Still, when Gary, our singing teacher, told me my song would be at the beginning of the afternoon, because they were going chronologically, I said I was actually hoping to go first.
And I did. I chose the first song I learnt here, Oft Have I Sighed, and Gary had Noam sit on a chair on stage with me, completely ignoring me. It was a brilliant idea, because it fueled the emotions and made it about more than just me singing in front of an audience, it was about telling a story. I have really supportive friends who told me it was the best they have heard me sing yet, but either way, I got up there and I faced my fears and sang 🙂
I rewarded myself that evening by making a whole lot of mac and cheese to savor while working on lines. I continued running them the next day on my way to rehearsals, where I was called for the first session, as well as the last, leaving a huge gap in between. The first session was with Stevie, for voice, on a scene I do with Adelaide, where I have to make her understand that she is broke and in debt. It is interesting to be her steward in this after being her maid in The Rivals, but I enjoy working with her, and this part should be challenging, but fun. Especially since I have to reconfigure the way that I talk.

Once we finished, I went straight to St Paul’s Cathedral so I could go see the views from the Galleries of the dome. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside the Cathedral, but it is absolutely stunning. The murals and the architecture and…if it were appropriate, I would lay on the floor in the middle of the dome, prop my head up and just spend the day looking up at the ceiling.

Next, I headed to Somerset House and the British Museum (Mummies! Rosetta stone!) before going back to prepare for the last session of the day, which was with Rodney. I definitely felt the pressure of my first rehearsal with him. Not because he is scary in any way, but because he is the head of drama school and so knowledgeable and interesting and awesome, which makes him sort of intimidating. Almost everyone else in the scene ended up on the grass with me beforehand and we rehearsed and talked about the play and rehearsals and I felt a pang of not really wanting this to end.
I didn’t really get any notes after doing the scene, even though I accidentally repeated the same line twice before apologizing and saying the appropriate one. Still, it was really interesting to watch the scene come to life with the other actors. Rodney suggested we not spend every day watching the rehearsals, as there is a whole world out there, as well as lines to learn and character work to do, but I definitely enjoy watching the others work 🙂 And, we were four of us walking home together, instead of just me by my lonesome!
On Friday, Kailea and I finally got to get Stevie’s feedback on our RP scene from Closer. The more we run lines or rehearse, the more I feel like I don’t actually have the accent down at all, so it was nice to hear Stevie say that we were really good, and to know that most of the notes he gave were on words that I wasn’t convinced were right either.
In Debbie’s class, we just rehearsed our duologues, so Lucy and I did warmups and then worked on blocking and figuring out our scene. We agreed to meet over the weekend, as soon as Chelsea would be gone. It helps to have something to keep your mind off stuff like that 😉
For our last movement class (because the final project/performance thing on the last day doesn’t count) we had to talk passionately about food, which made our mouths water and stomachs grumble, before some people did some mask work. Sydney chose me as the Beauty to her monkey beast, so now I can die happy.
Friday night, I left school and had supper at Dishoom with Chelsea, before a weekend of very little work, but lots of exploring a different side of London 😉

“I am devilishly afraid, that’s certain; but… I’ll sing, that I may seem valiant.”

-John Dryden


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