Undercroft Cabaret at Jurnet’s Bar Norwich

🕒 1 minute read

I’m going to be at the Undercroft Cabaret at Jurnet’s bar in Norwich, this coming Thursday 4 April, for something a little bit different.

Mark, the organiser for the evening, asked if I could perform a short, talking-head slot for the evening. After double-checking that this involved retaining my head on my body, I agreed to take part.

I had a brief panic about what on earth I was going to perform.  I am so indecisive it could take me eons to find something. So, I solved that issue by writing something instead.

This will be the first time, in a long time, that I’ve got up on stage to read something I’ve personally written. It amuses me as I think the last time was when I read out my poem about the “seasons” in middle school assembly.

Jurnet’s Bar is a lovely, intimate venue and there will be a few friendly faces there I’m sure. So, although I am more than a little nervous, I’m sure that it will be a good night.

Check out The Undercroft Cabaret Facebook page for deets.

Poster showing lineup for the Undercroft Cabaret

 

 

 

Dark Arts³

🕒 2 minutes read

Apex – Acting

This week I’ve been busy laying the foundations for Dark Arts³.  A new company that I created that focuses on helping people with their digital marketing. Woman can not live on acting alone. Well, not in Norwich, she can’t. Paid acting work is like finding a Willy Wonka golden ticket around these parts.  I had enough of the cabbage diet during my master’s last year. I’m getting a little fed up with being a poor actor. So, I’m supporting my creative practice with my other skills which, to be honest, I have totally taken for granted.

Face – Writing

My writing is a little on hold at the moment. Not by choice, it’s difficult to be focused on writing when I have so many distractions right now . Also, I have an announcement to make regarding writing, but I haven’t been given the go-ahead to allow me to officially announce as yet. 

Base – Digital Marketing

Putting together a website and getting my marketing sorted during my studies was easy. I studied Computer Science and Business, had worked in marketing and SEO between my undergrad and MA. It’s what I loved to do. That part of my master’s degree was not a challenge for me.  I assumed that everyone knew what I knew and could do what I can do.

I quickly realised that, just as I am always learning and growing, and I don’t know what I don’t know yet. Others were just like that regarding digital marketing.  Because of my own insecurities and humbled by all the things that I don’t know and still have to learn, I didn’t stop and think about all of the things that I do know. All the skills and knowledge that I have that I take for granted. Things that I just do because they are now part of who I am, but are mysterious dark arts to others.

It took a one to one meeting with Suzie from Meta Value to knock some reality into me. A series of workshops over the following few days, just reinforced and pushed me further into the same direction. Serendipity struck, as it tends to when I am wandering about happily. The name of Dark Arts³ (Dark Arts Cubed) came to me, walking home from UEA, alone with my thoughts, whilst mulling over the options and thinking about what was blocking me from getting my business up and running.

Dark Arts³

This is the base that supports my acting and writing and now makes my creative practice stronger.  I wouldn’t be a good writer or marketer if I hadn’t gone off at a tangent researching the significance of the number 3. I’m not a religious, spiritual or superstitious person. I am very much, I think, a person of reason, but the repeated significance of the number, historically, culturally, in religion, myth, literature, art etc fascinated me. Even my great-aunt used to tell me everything comes in threes. And now, so do I  😁

Acting as if there is Someone Waiting

Someone Waiting header with dates
🕒 3 minutes read

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

 

 

Acting and Writing: Combining Passions into Purpose

image representing my500words challege and creating a character

🕒 2 minutes read Today I am writing a short piece for a character I will be playing tomorrow. I don’t need to. It’s not necessary, but I thought I would combine day four of #My500Words challenge with my research and preparation for the role.

I have been provided with a brief which contains a bit about the history and personality of the character I need to play,  and what her motivations are. I am going to take the main facts and creatively write prose from my character’s point of view, as she goes through the experience that has been created in the text for her.

I will be creating her character tomorrow as an actor anyway. This is what I do, taking clues that the writer has put into the text or playwright has created in the dialogue. Investigating the words to determine where my character came from, what it is she wants, what action she is going to initiate to get it and what is standing in her way and how she is likely to react. I would use all the clues to dig deeper into the truth of who she is so that I can bring genuine emotions from my own experiences to make her real, aiming for verisimilitude.

But today, I am going to start with the facts and attempt to invent her internal reality, in words not actions, mind not body, enveloping the emotions into the text, as opposed to digging into the text for her emotions.

I am very much enjoying experimenting with words on the page. I think that the way that I  build my characters and explore emotion is going to be advantageous to my writing, and that getting back in touch with the writer in me is also going to contribute beneficially to the richness of my creativity and make me a better actor.

UEA Scriptwriting Showcase at The Garage

scriptwriting

🕒 2 minutes read I have been most fortunate to spend the most amazing couple of days working alongside some fantastic emerging scriptwriting and acting talent at the University of East Anglia’s renowned school of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. The MA Scriptwriting students were asked to submit their writing for a showcase of their work to an industry audience today at The Garage.

Yesterday morning, Script/Screen Writers, Directors and Actors spread out all over UEA campus to block and rehearse a variety of creative work written for stage, film and radio, but has….well, had, never been performed live.

Considering the amount of work that had to be squeezed into such a short period of time, everything appeared to flow smoothly and seamlessly over the course of yesterday’s rehearsals and today’s performances. This only goes to show just how much work must have also been going on behind the scenes in organising and coordinating.

Everybody worked incredibly hard and I hope that all the writers were happy with the way that their work was interpreted and portrayed by the Directors and Actors today. I feel so privileged and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to get involved and work alongside such a talented bunch of people.

It was quite a touching day for me personally as the stage at The Garage was the first stage I performed on and where I found my calling.  But, as per usual, I was too overexcited and present in the moment to think about taking any photos *epic facepalm* Not even an animal faced snapchat selfie, I was so focused on the task at hand. And despite numerous opportunities for me to grab the invaluable event programme, I managed to leave the venue without one. In all fairness I was too excited because I had to email somebody back about a date for a film audition… but that’s a post for another time.