The Advanced Course begins

We’re four days into the second (and final) year at LISPA and so far I’ve been alarmingly content. This makes me uneasy. It’s not normal.

This year we’re based just behind (and owned by) the Hackney Empire, rather than out west at Latimer Road, where the current first years and the LISPA office are still based. It’s great to have college closer to home and, as I lived round the corner for a couple of years it’s much more familiar ground than west London, which always feels like another city to me.

The space we’re using is a windowless shell, with black floor, walls and ceiling, a second small workspace, a little kitchen and an entrance room cum lounge. It’s a little rickety in places, but because of the extra space (and extra toilets!) it already feels more homely than the Latimer Road space.

On Monday we had a brief social day when the two years mixed slightly, for the first and last time until the end of the academic year, and lots of “How was your summer?” conversations happened. Thomas talked to us about the coming year and gave us an outline of the schedule. We were going to have a public performance at the end of each term but that idea didn’t make it, and I’m quite relieved. Not because I’m averse to performing but I’d rather spend the next few months learning new stuff without the distractions of preparing something to a state we can show people. There’ll be plenty of time to perform later. I was also pleased that the Clown would be taking up a whole term, rather than a few weeks. Lots of fun stuff to come I think.

Lessons have been good so far, mostly concerning performing pieces using a small seven by three foot (ish) platform as a stage. We’re also using this for our first Creation Group piece, in which seven of us must be on “stage” throughout the performance. Cosy. I fear I’m still going to have problems with Creation, which I think stem from me being overly critical and, in a group process, not being able to do things exactly how I’d like them (or even, often, knowing how else I’d like them, or having the confidence in my ideas to suggest them). But still, early days.

I was also less than enthusiastic about our first voice class of the year; lots of stuff about feeling the sphere that surrounds you and painting it different colours with your voice. I tried to give it a go, really, but sometimes it feels like I’m being inducted into some kind of weird cult and I’m the only one thinking, “is this guy for real!?” But, again, we’ll see how it goes, and mostly, so far, all is well.

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