Back in the rehearsal room with the woman that changed it all for me and many others. Morning coffee is sipped over bubbling conversations of lost and confused actors in the industry – I guess we are all here for the same reasons then! We get straight off with some volleyball and it feels so good to be back in a room playing with other artists. As the day proceeds, a few others and I get to revisit Kristine’s practice, only this time there are a few hidden gems for each individual. The practice itself becomes clearer and clearer, in other word’s cutting out all the academic bullshit and just keeping it as simple as ‘ finding the pleasure to play’. There’s no fancy explanation and this sends a very settling feeling through me as a director. My new gem for today was directing in Vietnamese, it was such a poignant moment for me in my process. This ease and instinctive way of working came flooding out of me and there I was ‘underneath the rehearsal room’ as Kristine puts it! So fascinating how the mother tongue can empower you as an artist even though I you might feel you identify with your British side a lot more!
Day 1 of our Actors Masterclass but my second workshop with Kristine and it feels good to be back. The key word here is Masterclass. From the get go we are brought into a room to master our craft and artistry. Everything has a meaning and reason and is useful! So we play games for 2 hours to begin with. But not just any theatre games, we work in detail, intelligently and maturely to play games as only we as actors can. And it is actually beautiful to watch, when we play well together! Who would have thought a game of keeping a soft ball in the air between 10 people or musical chairs could actually be beautiful to watch. Don’t get me wrong though- it isn’t an easy task as we discover and are pushed to find the reason behind games old and new. Words and concepts easily bandied about in the rehearsal room such as focus, team work, warming up, and readiness are all thrown out for the simplicity but specificity of “PLAYING WELL TOGETHER” playing as an artist and not as a child.
Already everything I have been previously taught is being turned on its head and it actually makes sense. Later we throw out the idea of “Character” and introduce ourselves onto the stage and the joy of ‘Anna-Maria’ playing well with other actors and with the text!
“If we the actors are not present on stage then there is nothing to see” or words very closely to that effect.
So picking up from where I left off in my last workshop with Tamasha (Nov 2011). I work in a Ugandan accent on a London Nigerian piece of writing (I know it sounds messy and crazy but it works!) and the piece flies in ways I cannot explain. Knowing that the Ugandan accent is some kind of key to help me unlock the way I play with text and with other actors – I quickly use this to help find exciting choices and freedom to play with the text. Then I am switching between this and my naturalLondonaccent but keeping the same freedom and sense of play. What took me a week to begin to uncover in the last workshop comes to fruition in a matter of minutes. I now understand what this key is, how powerful it is and how i can start to use it independently.
This is going to be an amazing week I can feel it already…