Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Inside Info and Counting Down to Commencement

Another week of professional input can be checked off the list. Finlay Welsh came in and talked to the MA CCTs on Monday. Mr. Welsh has been a working actor for thirty plus years and had wealth of experience to talk about, particularly in radio. We haven’t heard too much about radio acting so it was wonderful to get the scoop. Radio plays are not such a big thing in the States these days but here in the UK they are quite common. We figure that has something to do with the amount of publicly subsidized radio they have in the UK. In the US, most radio is commercial and driven by advertising profits. Bottom line: music is the biggest draw for American radio audiences so that’s what they are gonna broadcast to get the listeners. But, radio acting sounds like a lot of fun. There is no concern about the way an actor looks; it all has to do with what they express through their voice. Therefore, it can be incredibly freeing and allow an actor to play parts she may not normally get to play. I’ll get a sense of what it is like next month when the ‘Dead in Scotland’ team hits the recording studio to make a CD of my new play. So exciting!

Monday afternoon brought us actor/writer/director Skye Lonergan. Ms. Lonergan graduated from the previous Masters program they had at the RSAMD. They discontinued that curriculum a few years back and restructured it into the course we are on now. Ms. Lonergan is a real self-starter. She creates a lot of her own work. Hearing stories like hers is extremely inspirational. It just goes to show, you don’t have to sit around and wait for someone to hire you; you can get out there and make your own thing happen. It gives one a real sense of independence and control over one's own destiny. I like it!

Tuesday was a busy day with three guests. We started with Mark Thompson, Artistic Director of the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. He was refreshing because we did some acting and story-telling exercises with him. We had a good laugh or two with the silliness we came up with for those scenes. After lunch we met with Alexandra Silber. Ms. Silber is a graduate of the undergrad program and an American. She had a very unique and blessed situation in that she booked a lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s then new production called ‘Woman in White’ which opened in London’s West End. This was a miraculous opportunity and fabulous to hear about. She also talked about what the market is like for Americans in the UK and some of the challenges that come with obtaining/maintaining a visa. Later on Tuesday we heard from actor/writer Nick Underwood. He has worked in a myriad of mediums and written a variety of scripts including radio plays.

Wednesday we were led in an acting technique workshop by our classmate Eric Robertson. For his research project he is exploring the different schools of acting technique and wanted to work with us using exercises from the assorted methods.

Thursday we met with another American actor working in the UK, Michael Goldsmith. Mr. Goldsmith graduated from the undergrad program last year and has been working the showbiz scene in London ever since. His was a very fresh prospective and a bit more of the typical direct-from-training experience. He has done a lot of hustling in London. Meaning; lots of auditions and working the survival jobs to pay the rent. He did land a part in a ‘Dr. Who’ episode which will air this autumn. But he is in the trenches and it is fantastic to get his input, because, let’s face it, most of us won’t book a big West End musical before we graduate.

Friday was all about auditions. Each of us had a twenty minute slot to show our skills to Guy Hollands, the Artistic Director of the Citizens Theatre here in Glasgow. It was a general, meaning it wasn’t really for a specific show. But it was a chance to practice our audition skills, get seen by someone who could offer us a job one day and get some feedback on our delivery. It was a practical and very useful opportunity and Mr. Hollands was an absolute delight. One couldn’t have asked for a better adjudicator.

This week we return to the new plays by our professional playwrights. Showtime is drawing near and the grand finale will soon be upon us. Ten more weeks! That is all we have left until this term, this course, the amazing artistic adventure is all over. And then… who knows? West End? Radio? Film? Anything is possible!!!
Take care!

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