Time is flying by here in London. Our days are slammed full of classes, lectures and rehearsals. It’s not always easy. This is a challenging module but that’s part of the point. We need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in order to grow as artists. Growing pains are to be expected.
This past week we spent a great deal of time with the text. We hashed out the meaning of the words and studied the rhythms. Shakespeare wrote in verse or prose. There are various explanations for why he would choose one over the other. But most often he wrote in verse. Verse beats to a rhythm called iambic pentameter. Learning how to use this rhythm helps the actor identify what words should be stressed and thus clarifies the meaning. When Shakespeare breaks from this rhythm it can be a sign for the actor that something affecting the character; an emotional change may be in order. Very rarely did The Bard use any stage directions. His direction lies within his rhythms. Learning how to use the text is an absolute necessity for success with Shakespeare. We also had workshops in stage combat and Elizabethan song this past week. Good stuff!
This weekend I went shopping for a maternity dress for my character’s costume. I have a new found respect for moms-to-be. It was difficult to find a decent variety of clothing and at reasonable prices. I finally settled on a dress but I’ll need to couple it with a sweater or else I may freeze during our outdoor performance!
Aside from my crazy shopping trip this weekend, I haven’t seen too much of London yet. With days as busy as they are, there is little time to play tourist. But it is fine; we did come here to study after all. I am hoping to do a few sight seeing activities before I head back to Glasgow. There will be some time available after our final presentation at the Globe and before we are expected back in Glasgow.
I did manage to get to a show today in the West End. The West End is the theatre district of London and is equivalent to Broadway in New York. My classmate and I saw Oliver! Although we had nose bleed seats, it was fantastic! It starred Rowan Atkinson as Fagin. Americans may know Atkinson from the Mr. Bean or Black Adder series. He was hysterical as Fagin. Indeed, the entire production was top notch. The show never dragged on or felt slow, even through the run time was two and a half hours. Everyone one was very well cast and the design of the show was stunning. And kudos to the choreographer as well. All and all, a great night of theatre!
We have tickets to a play called Three Days of Rain starring RSAMD alum James McAvoy. That viewing experience is on for next Saturday night. In the meantime, we press on with The Winter’s Tale. I am to be off book on Wednesday. That means lines memorized, for all the non theatre folk who may be reading. So wish me luck! Right now it is all a jumble of Old English in my head! Oy!