I feel like I owe an end of term post about the acting classes, which finished just over a week ago, so, a quick summary.
I was really looking forward to term ending. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it had been tiring. OK, so running round a studio a few hours a day isn’t quite going down a mine or working long hours as a nurse or whatever the best right-on example of hard working folk is, but I think we were all surprised at how tired we were after seven weeks of LISPA. I just wanted a break from the routine of going to college for 8.15, coming home later to my other life in front of the computer.
Our creation group presentation on the last day was so-so. We were stopped just before the end as it wasn’t working, but I guess we should count ourselves lucky; two other presentations were stopped within a minute of starting. The problem was that the participants, all wearing neutral masks, had begun as characters — they were playing in a playground or at home washing up, sewing, etc. The neutral mask “has no past” and is supposed to be some kind of essentialised, universal person. As soon as you give it some kind of personality through a very individual activity the piece starts to feel awkward and silly somehow.
I had my end-of-term interview with Thomas, the Director, and I’m continuing with the course for the rest of the year (three more terms of seven, seven and ten weeks). He said I needed to work on bringing out all the stuff that’s happening internally — make it visible for the audience, which I knew, and is one of the reasons I thought LISPA would be good for me. I also need to use leadership skills more, such as they are, although knowing when it’s appropriate to do so is the tricky thing for me.
The term has been frustrating, because so much has been difficult. It also seems like it’s been longer than it was because we’ve done so much, which is good. I’ve found a lot of the movement work difficult, not to mention the bloody acrobatics. I’ve also found it really difficult to work in groups where there’s no one in charge, whether it’s me or someone else — with everyone saying “yes” to every idea it’s all too easy to end up with just a bunch of so-so ideas strung together.
And at times I’ve found myself craving a more “conventional” acting course, getting jealous of friends at other places who are working on scenes with scripts. Shakespeare, Ibsen, Pinter, whatever; they all feel like a long, long way from where we currently are, like another discipline entirely.
On the penultimate day of term we went to see the second year presentations, pieces which they’d spent a few weeks (I think) creating from scratch. While these were all works in progress, and I always see the bad in everything, it was great to see what interesting and original material they’d come up with. So many good ideas to work with and take further. Which bodes well for the coming terms.