What I know now:
The first step in doing a performance is to know what you’re doing it about. Our topic is ‘art and life’ so what I will do is research the topic, gather a pool of potential ideas and develop on them until I have the ones that could potentially be performed by either me or other people in the course. Next step would be to gather these ideas from everyone else in this commission, choose the best ones and cast them appropriately.
Only after having done that can we start actually working on the pieces. This research process can take a different amount of time depending on what you’re preparing for and what kind of piece you will be performing. For example if you were to play Mozart there would be a lot more research that would have to be done than if you were to play a bricklayer. There is still a lot of research that goes into learning what exactly a bricklayer does but there is a lot more freedom to create your own character; while playing Mozart means you would have to study his life and understand how he was through research so you could play him as closely as you can to actual Mozart. Once we know what pieces we’re performing though it is finally at that point that you do your final research and understand the piece to the best of your ability. Then you must arrange time for rehearsing with people from other pathways if you have to perform something with someone who doesn’t have the same timetable as you. I’ve learned it’s much harder to plan things with people from other pathways because they always have different things going on for them but having done something similar previously I can easily arrange plans to meetup with people as I now know it must be done in advance, there is no way to just arrive on a Wednesday and hope that the other person is free to rehearse that day. I can create my own timetable for how long I have and depending on how each piece of rehearsal is going I can prioritise other things if I see that their deadline is coming up sooner.
I have performed to different kinds of audiences, children, elders, people who are interested in theatre, people who are walking in the street. Depending on the audience you adjust your piece differently – but that’s only if you know who your audience will be. As for this project you can’t really tell who is coming, but surely it will be a lot of parents, other students and people who have heard the advertisement of this show. Knowing this, there aren’t going to be many children so there is no point in making any of the pieces childish. There can be more obscure jokes that only grown ups would understand, and that will work because there will mostly be grown ups in the audience.
I have performed in a thrust stage during the last two commissions, this one will be a proscenium arch performance. I’m glad my last two were thrust stages because I think it’s easier to adapt from thrust to proscenium than the other way around. Also, proscenium arch is the most common stage type, probably because it’s the least challenging to perform in but most of the time when performing in other things this is the stage we keep returning to.
As always, our budget is going to be minimal. The props aren’t going to be bought unless it’s the last resort and it’s really cheap (under £5). We make our own props which was scary at first, but now it has become quite a common thing. As we do more of that, our props also become better. The props aren’t the most essential thing anyway, it’s the acting that will make us believe a boat made of cardboard being held by people in the air above their feet with cloth being whirled around them is actually a boat.
It’s not bad props by any means though. Just because they’re handmade doesn’t mean they’re going to be bad. They’re usable; they served their purpose.
There’s a lot of different themes to be performed and each one is difficult in its own way. It’s all acting but it’s all different types of performance. We have done fairy tales representation through performance ‘The Magic Paintbrush’ was one of the two we performed. We also performed scenes that were inspired by movie scenes; an adaptation of what is shown in the movie shown through theatre. This commission focuses on art. After researching what kind of art we’re performing and knowing what it is we’re doing it’s similar to the movie one, except there isn’t any movie to fall back on to see how they did it. As mentioned before, it’s all similar but still different which makes it exciting and challenging at the same time. Currently this theme looks a bit scary to me because I don’t know much about art but that is one of the points of this commission: it will teach me about art. I’ll learn more by research and then apply what I’ve learned into my performance. Once you know what you’re doing performing is always fun no matter the topic.
Fellow Company Members:
Each different pathway has its own way of working; I’ve worked with the actors, musical theatre and dancers. When there is only two or three of you it’s quite easy to manage but when there’s more of you from multiple pathways, heads clash, tempers show, ideas collide and work doesn’t get done because there’s more arguing about what should be done than actually working on it. The solution to that which is what I’ve learned from the previous project is to assign a leader, a director. This person will not be in the piece but will keep us all working towards the project because they will have the final say in ideas. Other people just get frustrated easily even if not in big groups because they want things done their own way. During these past months I’ve learned how to deal with that too, you have two options: Say yes, alright and ignore them or if you can’t ignore then instead of blatantly saying you disagree with them and that they’re stupid for thinking that you can agree but suggest the change, the alternative. Like this the other person won’t get upset because you didn’t dismiss them and instead contributed to their idea even if you completely went the opposite direction. Sometimes they just need to be told ‘no’ with a euphemism around it.