Sunday, July 31, 2011
The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.
Acting is a very attractive thing, a very scary, challenging and sometimes unattainable thing.
Through my Drama workshops with teenagers and through various projects and past productions, I have often met parents, adults and young adults with a strong desire to act. Some of them had been members of Drama Groups for years, some of them were thrown on stage for the needs of a community project and had never seen a script before, others always had a desire to “give it a go” but never dared, preferring to send their kids instead.
The most common recommendation I would give was to join their local Drama group if they never experienced the stage and to try to apply for a job as an extra on a film set if they were curious about the film industry.
But then I realised that there was something missing for people who didn’t necessarily want to become professionals, people who didn’t have the time or budget to attend Drama classes in Dublin institutions, people who didn’t get a part in the latest local production, people who DID get a part but wanted a little more than to learn lines and rehearse.
This is why I decided to offer these people the opportunity to discover acting without having the pressure to perform, to workshop methods and explore their own range, their own relationship with the idea of acting and using what they expect and desire from it.
I am very excited to start this project and, of course, will keep you updated about its progress!
For more info about The Actor Within, please visit our website: workshops. or our Facebook page.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Today I helped to transform Trinity college into an institute for the permanently bewildered. At first we wanted to create a prison but we felt that an asylum would be more in keeping with the air of manic holiday-making as tourists hotfooted it around the yards and green spaces in search of celtic treasures. I was taking part in the Ahead of the Game workshop organised by Make-and-Do-PlayFair . It was led by Duncan Speakman, director of Subtlemob and all round instigator of silent street events. Duncan likes invisible theatre, the kind that happens while watching people move through everyday life. He likes technology, the kind that everyone has in their pockets - mobile phones, headphones, mp3's. He showed us how to use these everyday gadgets to create cinematic soundscapes which made the brick and stone buildings of Trinity fade away in front of our eyes.
We took turns experimenting with headphone tours. The university became a playground, a puzzle or a pilgrimage, depending on how we varied the sensory layers. We could scale it up visually or bring it down to microscopic level, speed it up to panic stations or slow the pace back through the use of voice and sound effects. In the afternoon we created a walking tour of the new state of the art Trinity Centre for the Permanently Bewildered, complete with cobble-stone therapy, bicycle recreation and other progressive rehabilitation techniques.
We learned how to create ghosts using cameras. We learned how the simplest of actions can have the most unexpected and unintended of consequences. We played mobile-phone hide and seek. Even the tourists played their part, walking around in circles and stopping every now and then as they tried to figure out what exactly they were supposed to be looking at. Rules of game-playing became apparent as we experimented. There were rules and a lot of the time they were asking to be broken.
It was great to just spend the day with like minded mischief-makers. Workshops are great for that. I also loved the fact that it was quick and easy to create little worlds and to see people enter them. It was quick to see what worked and what didn't and how to change it next time so that it worked better. It was the sort of workshop where you are sitting on the bus on the way home, thinking of different scenarios and how to pan them out using different methods.