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.

Foxy Voiceover for Reynard City Chronicles

Reynard City voiceover

🕒 2 minutes read I’ve been busy this month with a bit of foxy acting work. Hey! God! No! What are you thinking? Not that kind of foxy. When I say Foxy….I mean FOXY! With a capital Fox.

Marie Cooper Actor Snapchat Reynard City Fox

Reynard City asked if I would record one of their audio short stories.
So I got to be a foxy superhero for a bit. Not that it went to my head or anything…..Foxifying myself was just to show my support….ok?……so don’t judge me!….. Yeah….*whispers*……think I totally got away with it….Ahem!

Changes

Ah, You may also have noticed that I no longer look like me.  I mean, besides the ears, nose, whiskers and eyes. My hair kinda changed colour. I got hellishly bored of trying to wait for the dark brown to grow out of my hair again. Seriously! When hair is this long, it takes a squillion years to grow out. I’ll save you the nightmarish details of failed attempts at lightening and a head of bright orange, but it is now….honey blonde. Yes, honey blonde. That is exactly what it said on the packet and I do not agree with Ashlie’s observation that I am ginger. Five year old’s are stupid!

Reynard City Audio Stories

Anyway, I digress, faster than a blimping fox can float into the distance……The web comic follows the story of Vibes McAllister, AKA AK Girl, who is not your average superhero. She has superpowers, yes, but she is also afflicted with a devastating and……strange ……weakness, of which, unfortunately for her, her nemesis Mega Fox is quite aware.

REYNARDCITY1The audio story I have been working on is part of Reynard City’s fantastic new project on Patreon. That’s a site where patrons sign up and support the creative work of the artists that they enjoy the work of and would like to see more of. Patrons who sign up are helping Reynard City raise the funds it needs to relaunch Reynard City Chronicles as a graphic novel.  As a reward for their support, patrons get exclusive membership access to artwork and stories.

Last month, in the first of Reynard City’s Audio Stories, Hayley Evenett, told the exciting tale of how Animal Planet began, the foxy trio met and the first ever battle with Mega Fox.

Coming up in part 2, I will be……..Well, I can’t tell you that, can I? It hasn’t been announced yet. It’s a surprise…. But it’s a goodun’. Keep an eye out on the Reynard City blog page for news of the story release….

If you do get to listen to the story, do tell me what you think. It was my first, non-corporate voiceover, so I would very much appreciate feedback, I’m not precious 🙂

 

Come, into The Garden, Maud – Hair and there

🕒 1 minute read


We’ve been trying out costumes for the Great Hall Players production of ‘Come into the Garden, Maud’ for the past couple of weeks. I do love the evening dress I shall be wearing for the post-party scene. Although I don’t like it quite as much as the one I couldn’t get my rib cage zipped into. Weight I can lose, but I can’t lose ribcage 😂

I am now puzzling over how I can quick-change from 1960s casual hair to evening hair, when I am on stage for a lot of the play. I think it could be a challenge. I might play about with speed-glamming up a bouffant tomorrow. It will humour me, whilst simultaneously helping to sooth my ‘essay writing’ and ‘Christmas-shopping-with-next-to-no-money’ pain 😂

I quite fancy the idea of experimenting to see if I can create something like the Missy Sue up-do tutorial below, I found on YouTube. I think it might be quite elegant if I can pull it off in the time that I have and if the director thinks it suits the scene. I want to be confident that I can get my hair up well within the time I have off-stage. I will time the scene when we are next in rehearsals to see how long I have. Ah, the magic of the theatre. The play is being performed live and ‘in-the-round’ so there will be no hiding if I stride back on the stage and my hair starts flapping about mid-scene.