Frantic line learning and high heels practice are the order of the day over at DSL at the moment. Movement and Dance classes have extended to the point where we know 25 minutes of material (including a brilliant Irish Jig to be cracked out when at a party) as well as the opening choreography of West Side Story. Radio is moving on to audiobooks and TV promises more and more soap opera scenes with high stakes and big characters. I can feel myself being stretched, and I like it.
Term One at Drama Studio saw two Scene Study blocks where we worked in high detail on short scenes and then presented them to our year group and teachers. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with David Wylde on Punk Rock, playing Lily in a fairly raunchy and tense scene, and then the inimitable Jenny Easthop on a handful of scenes from Ciphers, playing the part of Justine. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learnt from practical work!
Term two saw us cast in an hour long production of one of Chekhov’s four great plays. I was lucky enough to be Arkadina in The Seagull directed by the fantastic Brendan Murray and had an absolute ball playing the erratic and aged actress. Despite learning I’ve got a long way to go where head bandaging is concerned, I found that playing the pauses and subtext are definitely some of my favourite things to do onstage.
I also got a chance to try out my new found improvisational skills when the cast managed to lose the pack of cards used for the last five minutes of the play in the ether backstage. This turn of events rendered my offstage line ‘Let’s all play our little game in here’ a little random, so some quick thinking from all of us turned our game of Gin Rummy into simultaneous spontaneous (and odd) conversations between a mother and daughter who had quite suddenly put their differences of the previous scene behind them and between two eccentric siblings arguing about art in 19th century Russia. We all learnt two life lessons: firstly, always prepare a props table and secondly, covering is an art form unto itself and should be mastered by all. Thankfully, we managed to pull it off and the second performance saw the card game as planned.
Next on the agenda is the legendary Pantomime block and school tour, I can’t wait to report back on that!