Monthly Archives: February 2012

Acting Masterclass with Kristine Landon-Smith – Day 3

“Kristine knew that one of the participants – “a young handsome boy” – had been usually cast to play an energetic boy.

As soon as she said this, the boy blushed & agreed – both to the complement and the right guess.
However, immediately he added that he didn’t always like it. Kristine’s instinct was right. She said that he would be good with energetic roles but he would also be wonderful with playing the role of a gentle young boy. I don’t know how he felt – but I knew Kristine had given him a gift. A gift suited to him. A gift he embraced when he next went on floor. Whenever he forgets his gift, Kristine reminds him – and there he is on floor – “a young handsome gentle lovely boy.”

During the past couple of days, lots of big words have been abandoned & only the pleasure to play has been focused on. Through insights, improvisations & play, the participants have been playing the game Kristine think they might like.
Which has opened doors for the participants.
And a window for me.”
Neha Nahata – Observer

“Inevitably my reflection on this fascinating week so far is to some extent reflecting also on my experience of having been part of the Actor/Director Laboratory in November. This week is a great opportunity to re-visit Kristine’s approach and work through the process by engaging in a whole five days of playing and exploring, this time with a different and smaller group, and therefore in a more detailed way. I’m finding it really helpful to clarify and go deeper into things that came up during that week, and to further develop and consolidate my understanding through doing and observing in this context. By actually working through these processes again in an intensive way, it is helping me to marry what I learnt during the Actor/Director Lab with what I had learnt before then, have learnt since, and am learning now. As well as developing my own process, it’s so interesting to watch and be part of the development of each actor in a more sustained way than was possible during the Lab. The Lab was equally fascinating but a whole different experience, not least because of the dynamic of seeing and being part of Kristine working with the directors.

At the heart of it all though, is the simplicity of playing and connecting, and the notion of starting always from ourselves. Of course, rationally, we know to start from ourselves, completely ourselves unshielded, openly and truthfully, (and I don’t just mean actors working on a scene but all artists and creators). However, even knowing this, and knowing that having any preconceived or pre-learnt notion of how something is expected to be or ‘should’ be only holds us back, everyone at times has the temptation to use/return to what they have learnt or know will ‘work’ (either as an actor, artist or person approaching a given moment). Doing what we think or even know will ‘work’ may make something good but not extra-ordinary. By starting from ourselves, completely letting go of everything else, we find the keys to make what we are doing extra-ordinary. It is about really noticing and challenging the subtle ways we can at times slip into things that are safer as opposed to taking the risk of something murkier and less tangible. As Kristine said today, it is having the courage to ‘not know.’ It’s a fascinating journey and one we go on exploring and developing throughout our lives as artists, learning more and more to trust the intangible.

There is so much to say and document but just to give a sense of ‘shape’ to how this week is progressing: we are beginning to work more with how to bridge what we are learning with the next stage of working on/actually performing a monologue or scene in another setting (such as an audition or performance). The idea is that we can then take what we’ve learnt and apply it to a different scene, context, or requirement, trusting that we can set ourselves up through detailed steps and follow these steps through to create an extra-ordinary final performance. The specifics of these ‘steps’ are something we cannot know until we explore each situation or scene and then work through the process that is inevitably, and by nature as something ‘in creation’, ‘messy’ and uncertain.

Here’s to another two days of the course and to the future…”

Camila Fiori – Actor

Amman Brar on the BBC Writersroom 10 Scheme

BBC Writersroom10: TDA writer Amman Brar

One of the TDA writers attached to the Associate Artists’ Mulberry School project – Amman Brar has been chosen as one of the BBC Writersroom10.

Tamasha and the BBC Writersroom are supporting Amman through this project.

Amman has engaged with various projects through Tamasha from 2004 when he participated in a 1 day Individual Actor workshop and subsequently set up a company Barefoot Productions with 4 other TDA members, participated in New Writing in 2004, was a director in Design Direct in 2005 and most recently worked with Associate Artists Fin Kennedy and Tanya Singh in the Mulberry School project.

He has written a blog on the BBC Writersroom 10 scheme click here to read it>

Acting Masterclass with Kristine Landon-Smith – Day 2

“I have to admit, I was a bit thrown by the number of games we played on Monday, and today they just seemed to increase! I’ve never been good at any children’s party game, and since regrettably at my 7th birthday party where I made all the winners cry, I’ve excused my dislike for them by telling hapless friends that they’re simply a societal conspiracy created to rob children of creative childhoods and prepare them for the rat race. Kristine kept telling me to make eye contact, saying ‘you’re not PLAYING, Isobel’, and I thought rather grumpily ‘Well of course I bloody am- I’m here aren’t I? And I haven’t tipped all the chairs over or hidden the ball…’. What eventually, by today, managed to permeate, was that not only was I failing to communicate with the other players, I was failing to enjoy the interactions between us. This was confusing until I remembered why I began acting in the first place, before it became a constant negotiation powered by my rapidly inflating and deflating ego… because it was fun.

Without savouring the gifts that another actor gives you, a scene is basically a series of disjointed monologues, and if you’re doing a monologue without the internal acknowledgement of the the effects your words have and the human responses which arrive from them, then it’s a soliloquy, which let’s face it, only happens when you’ve lost the plot and feel the need to have a little chat with yourself anyway… Real life is not scripted, and therefore if art is to even slightly dare to imitate life, then the unknown, the unsure, must be celebrated rather than feared. Kristine has shown us that an audience does not find it exciting to watch “some actors on stage say some stuff”, what fascinates them is to watch as a dynamic develops between the actors.”
Isobel Mascarenhas-Whitman – Actor

“Kristine’s approach has radically shook up my own preconceptions, and it has been such a freeing and positive experience to have that individual interaction with a director to better understand what I can bring to a rehearsal process as an actor. Through play and improvisation, and also through watching the fellow participants I strongly feel that, as a performer, one must always be open and willing to engage to create true and present performances. It’s incredible how much has been achieved in only two days, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the rest of week will bring!”
Harjoat Bhella – Actor

Acting Masterclass with Kristine Landon-Smith – Day 1

“Today was a interesting opening day for the start of the acting masterclass with Kristine. The group was a lovely mix of ages and backgrounds and seeing each actor bring their own personal cultural background into monologues was fascinating to observe, whether through language or mannerisms. I never would have thought that using my own Eastern European background, into Shakepeares Cleopatra, would bring the character to life as much as it did. Kristine’s notes, on how I use my voice and accent, were spot on. A workshop where you come out of a scene having discovered something new about your style of performance and leaves you thinking how you can apply this to future work is what any participant would hope for.”
Samantha Pieris – Actor

“It is all too often that I forget about the playfulness of play making.
I forget that this process of making is about saying “yes” to impracticalities: testing limitations, planting seedlings and cultivating potential. We have pre-established relationships (director to actor/ lead to chorus/ dramaturg to writer/ etc), but when do we explore our working dynamic by building real relationships with real interactions? Sometimes we get caught up in the parameters and impossibilities of producing; these moments can be afforded by limited funding, minimal time, an occasional rigidity of text, or even the sheer physics of design. However, today’s observation of Kristine in action was a reminder that nothing is impossible when you are playing with others.
She works eye-to-eye, artist-to-artist, her direction is responsive interaction. She leads with her gut. It is clear that the ensemble trusts her, and why not? She is honest. She says, “I don’t know what it is, or what I’m doing, but I see something in you. Let’s explore this together.”
This encounter with creative uncertainty is rare and beautiful. This is the kind of interaction that invites risk which in turn invites play. Why shouldn’t we flirt with the impossible? Only by imagining it and then enacting it, can we make it happen.
Kristine’s simultaneous dramaturgy fills the space. It is no longer a rehearsal room, but rather, a playroom. By playing together we can find our practice of play-making.”
Carissa Hope Lynch – Observer

“Learning how to ‘play’ with the other actors through simple games was more challenging than I would’ve thought, but very beneficial in establishing a connection with someone in a scene. Kristine’s approach is amazing, such a focus on making something believable through improvisation rather than using lots of confusing actor tricks. Working through everyones monologues was really interesting, I learnt a lot from just observing. A great first day.”
Karina Minhas – Actor

Meet the Cast of Snookered

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