This week I have portrayed a sex-starved parade of men, a historic civil rights campaigner and an authoritarian father figure from a bygone era. But enough of my personal life…
(N.B. these were all assessments!)
It’s official – I have finished all my classes and am slap-bang in the middle of my first year performance, and to say that I’ve been cast against type would be an understatement. For those of you struggling to imagine the transformation, imagine Julian Clary as Stanley in Streetcar and you won’t be too far off the mark. On the one hand, I’m excited by the opportunity – it’s so easy to stay where one is comfortable and to focus on what one already does well (indeed, let’s be honest, this is pretty much going to define my career – we may all be trained to play ‘anything’ but it’s unlikely we’ll get the chance). On the other, it’s a certain kind of pressure – I want to be believable as someone who is so far removed from me and pretty much anyone I know that we are as strangers.
Here’s where the ‘falling in love’ begins. My eternally quotable director – he of the incitement of mass ‘WTF’ thought bubbles – is a fierce advocate of this and I actually – shock, horror – really understand it. Exploring the play has made the challenge seem more surmountable – there’s always something in a character that makes one say “okay, I get you”, and from there, hopefully, one is able to layer on everything else – body language, movement, voice – and build outwards. I guess that, in terms of creating characters, people have more in common than they realise – reactions, thought processes, a sense of morality – which provide an inroad. Simply put, people are people at heart and the rest is window dressing. So all I have to do is find the right outfit for the mannequin. That’s the plan, anyway.
In other news, there’s a real sense of wrapping up at school – the third years are preparing to leave and there’s a pervading sense of expectation in the air as they embark on their showcases and, hopefully, their careers. Strangely enough – despite having had a career of sorts already – the idea of being in this position in two years terrifies me. It’s incredible how safe one feels whilst at school – wrapped in a blanket that offers intriguing glimpses of the industry, but shields one from full exposure. I guess it’s the dread scenario in which I do my showcase and… that’s it, everything goes away – the link to the business, the network, the guidance… it all comes down to that moment.
I’m sensible enough to know that’s not true, of course, and that one should think of the three years purely as a training ground, a pre-battlefield in which to strategise, but the sense of desperation pervades. HELP ME.
Meh. I’ll worry about it next year…
Image: All Wrapped Up