Acting as if there is Someone Waiting

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Someone Waiting by Emlyn Williams

We have just started rehearsals for ‘Someone Waiting’ by Emlyn Williams with the Great Hall Theatre Company in Norwich. I had a great first rehearsal on Monday. I always love the first one. It’s like Christmas. Meeting a whole new group of people, all coming together with a shared goal and a real passion to create something special.

New Challenges

I have a small, but significant and challenging role to play.  It made me chuckle, because although it is the smallest part I’ve taken on in a while, it’s ticking a large number of things that I have never done on stage before, off of my acting bucket list. It turns out that my character in this play is quite a little firecracker.  I have to act drunk, slap someone and kiss a couple of people.

Accent

My character, Hilda, has an East London (Cockney) accent. I’ve never had to use that accent before so I will be swatting up. I’ve done a little bit of research and have quite a long list of movies that have characters with an East London accent in. No, I most certainly do not have Mary Poppins on that list. I will be watching some of the movies over the coming weeks to get accustomed to hearing the accent and try to get the accent in my head, along with my lines. These are some of the suggestions I found online to choose from and I’m ticking them off as I watch them:

Alfie (1966)
Bronco Bullfrog (1969)
Green Street (2005)
Hue and Cry (1947)
✔ It Always Rain on Sunday (1942)
✔ Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Made in Dagenham (2010)
My Brother the Devil (2012)
Spider (2002)
The Bespoke Overcoat (1956)
The Long Good Friday (1980)
The Sweeney (2012)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seeing as binge-watching The Punisher to pick up an American accent last year for Noel Coward worked, it can’t hurt to try the aural osmosis approach once again.

Drunk

There is also a point in the play where my character becomes quite drunk. I’ve never had to play drunk on stage before, so that is something I need to really work on. I mean work on playing drunk, not getting drunk. I have plenty of former experience in the latter.  Apparently it is quite difficult to do well. There are some good tips on Backstage on their article about  ‘Playing Drunk’  which I will be reading through and practising before we rehearse that scene.
 

Slap

When I first read through the play I somehow totally managed to miss reading that I have to slap one of my fellow actors. I remember in classes, some years ago, we were going to go through on-stage slapping but we ended up changing our minds and just did a ‘shove’ instead. I think it’s because the tutor didn’t have time to go through stage fighting with the entire class. 

If you hold back it looks really naff and is obviously faked. But you also can’t just go around slapping other actors because, well, it’s not much fun for the person getting slapped and they might end up getting injured. I will have to look up and learn how to do it properly, so that it looks as if I am hitting hard, without actually knocking my fellow actor’s head off. Seriously though, I read that many actors end up in the hospital when it’s executed wrong. Executed! Possibly the wrong choice of word.  I mean ‘done’ wrong. ‘Done!’

Kiss

I’ve never had to kiss anybody on stage as yet either. But in this play I have to  kiss two of my fellow actors.  I don’t even know where to start with this one. I suspect it might be a little embarrassing at first. On the plus side I’m not in a relationship at the moment so I don’t have to have the awkward “It’s only acting darling” conversation.  On the downside, I guess I’m going to have to avoid my favourite garlicky foods and remember to take my toothbrush to rehearsals.

Acting Bucket List, Cha-Ching! 😆

✔ Cockney (East London) Accent
✔ Slapping someone hard across the face
✔ Stage kiss
✔ Playing drunk

 

‘Someone Waiting’ by Emlyn Williams and directed by John Bury, will be performed at The Assembly House in Norwich
by the Great Hall Theatre Company 
22nd and 26th January 2019
Tickets are available online from TicketSource