The Last Classes

This week was the end of our regular classes at LAMDA. We still have rehearsals, our Tragedies Β and a final movement project on the last day, but our class groups and regularly scheduled classes are all over. This semester is truly coming to an end….
Monday was pretty intense, with some people having to present in every single class. Luckily, all I had to worry about in voice was circles of attention, and watching other people do their monologues.
In Debbie’s class, we presented our duologues, with Lucy and I going first (because I asked, I always ask now). It went pretty well, except for a moment near the end, when I completely forgot the wording of one of my lines. Instead of panicking as I might have done, I took a breath, in character, recovered my line, and said it like it was Emilia who was trying to find the best word to convey her meaning, as opposed to me as the actress trying to remember my line. I am not sure how it looked to the audience, but Debbie seemed proud of me. She told me that I was staying truthful, but expanding. And that she can see how I have been inching out of my comfort zone, slowly, but the next step is to throw myself into it and see if I can occupy that comfortably. I will work on that, Debbie!
Our last class of the day was Stage Combat, where we were told to find a scene to do our fight to. Sydney and I were incredibly excited about this, because we chose to write a scene from Harry Potter quotes. So, we tailored what we were saying to the fight that we already knew, using insults and taunting from the books, as well as spells for a lot of the sword thrusts. It was awesome, and we got some laughs. A really nice last class, where we were even given chocolate πŸ™‚
After our normal day of classes, we had a run through of our RP scenes. It was a lot of fun to watch everyone else perform, and I now have a list of plays I need to read. It was also really nerve-wracking when Kailea and I realized that another group was doing the exact same scene as us.
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On Tuesday, we had rehearsals, with Stevie in the morning, and then Rodney in the afternoon. I know pretty much all of my lines for the play, I just have trouble getting them out in front of other people. Luckily, I used my cue cards as a prop, so I didn’t feel entirely vulnerable and without a safety line, but I also did not look down at them. So, it was a success πŸ™‚ However, what I had believed to be a kind of lament, is actually Flavius venting out his frustrations. To help me get there, Rodney had me try to deliver my lines to the other people in rehearsal, while they walked around, purposely ignoring me and refusing to make eye contact. I think it will be really helpful for playing this scene, as well as to bring me into the right place for the next scene, which gets pretty emotional.
Tuesday is also when there were bombings in Belgium, which was our Easter vacation destination. I spent a lot of my break between rehearsals trying to cancel the trip and figure out what we would do. Then I saw the pictures, while trying to find out if it would be feasible for us to just go anyway, and it put everything into perspective. It is horrifying and heartbreaking and I am so grateful that we weren’t there when it happened. My thoughts are with everyone affected.
Tuesday night, our program had tickets to go see Winter’s Tale at the Globe Theater, which was really nice, especially since I was not familiar with the play, and only knew Carolyn’s monologues from it. Also, in case you are equally as unfamiliar, it in no way follows the plot of the Colin Farrell movie of the same title.
Wednesday morning we had our last singing class, where Gary told me I have a pleasant voice that is lovely to listen to when I am getting the notes. It is more than I could have hoped for as far as praise in this class goes, so I am really proud of myself. And Kailea is too. She has also agreed to come and sing to my children once I have some, so I think this was a very successful course.
We also had our last Alexander class, and historical dance, which I find really sad. I absolutely loved learning those dances, and worry my family won’t want to dance them with me at our next family function.
Wednesday Afternoon was the showing of our RP scenes, the moment of truth as to whether we had learnt something in Stevie’s class. Debbie also came and watched, which was lovely. I got all dressed up, which made me more nervous before we started, but made me feel more playful once we had. Stevie had given us 3 words that we were saying wrong that we needed to fix (I believe it is what we were being graded on) and I am pretty sure I got moment, and dog, and at least half of my ‘was’s. In the end, it was a lot of fun, and I am really glad we get to keep working with Stevie in rehearsals πŸ™‚
We ended about an hour early, so Kailea, Vany, Wala, Molly and I went to the Yardbird for supper, where I got to try the proper mac and cheese, which was just what I needed to congratulate myself on a day well done. I came home and worked on the scenes for Thursday’s rehearsal, since it was the big one.
On Thursday, we were with Rodney all day. I was called for 2 scenes, the one with Adelaide where I finally make her understand that she is broke (as Timon), and the one after, where she sends us off. I had adjusted my thinking for the scene after notes Rodney had given for the other scene on Tuesday, but my original thought was more what we needed. I have to work a lot on being grounded and speaking from the heart, not the head this weekend, because not only do I kind of have a meltdown, I also need to cry. Which terrifies me more than anything, but I do feel like I am getting there. It kind of builds with each scene, and hopefully, once I am grounded and no longer going to Β my head, it will all come together. Otherwise I will bring a needle on stage with me me and poke myself or something πŸ˜‰
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Molly and I weren’t called after lunch, so we went to afternoon tea at the Delaunay, then wandered around before going to see People, Places and Things. I was mostly going just to be sociable and so she wouldn’t go alone, but it was actually really riveting. The character was a mess but I cared so much about her, and there is a point in the second half, after which I could not stop crying. And, judging by the sniffles and how readily Molly took the tissue I offered her, I was far from being the only one. I wouldn’t recommend it for a happy, fun night at the theatre (although there were quite a lot of laughs) but I really suggest seeing it.

Β “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

-Jiddu Krishnamurti

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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ˜‰

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

-John Dryden