Phil Gyford

Writing

Saturday 24 September 2005

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The first week of classes is over (apart from the singing-for-idiots which starts next week) and it went reasonably well. The toughest aspect has been working with classes of strangers, having to get to know people from scratch again. We’d be playing some complicated game, designed to help everyone bond, concentrate, and be aware of what everyone else is doing, and we’d be royally screwing it up, and I’d be thinking, “but the group I spent two solid weeks with over the summer became good at this, why are we finding it so hard now?” No doubt we’ll click before long, but it’s frustrating at the moment.

There were the three classes making up the Foundation course: The movement class, after a bit of general course introduction and warm-up, had us in pairs, mirroring our opposite’s actions. The voice class was a brief introduction to the aspects of voice production we’ll be covering this year — hopefully I’ll make better progress than in the classes I did last term, which didn’t seem to work for me. And the acting class involved most of those frustrating concentration games and some group improvisations. Most of the improvisations were, I must say, pretty bad, with little plot progression, people talking over each other and blocking suggestions others made. Not that I was better; I didn’t feel much a part of it and said almost nothing. And not in a good way.

On top of those I’m doing the Introduction to Stanislvaski class this term, which I expect will be covering some of the same ground as both the summer Method Studio course and the Foundation acting classes, but that’s not going to hurt. This week we had to listen to a story told by our partner and then tell it to the group the way it was told to us. It went OK, and some people were really good, although I chickened out of attempting my partner’s accent. I don’t even know where to start with accents.

It’s finally dawned on me that all those classes plus homework is going to take up a fair bit of time. This week I have three tasks to get done in my own time: Memorise a two minute piece of first-person prose to recite on-camera for the voice class; Practice drinking a hot drink so I can convincingly act the sensations without the mug or drink for Stanislavski; and prepare a short scene for the acting class in which I must endow three objects with properties (eg, drink grape juice as if it’s actually wine). I’m a little worried about volunteering to do the latter this week, but hopefully it’ll go OK…