Friday, 11 December 2009

No rest for the wicked!

As I predicted my week was just as hectic as last week if not more! So on Saturday we had our first performance at Ham House and it went brilliantly. The whole day had a real Christmas feel to it and both the public and performers I believe thoroughly enjoyed it. With every new performance there is that nervousness and excitement and I didn't feel it straight away in the morning but when I was waiting in the buttery and I heard the door go suddenly the excitement kicked in it was like a switch and suddenly I was Mrs Claus. Originally the idea was for it to be Q&A with Mrs Claus , poppy the elf and her son Nicky , however all this changed ! While the character of Mrs Claus being a feminist, modern business woman was genius, it didn't transcend well to children so instead we decided that Mrs Claus would be more about Christmas but still of course a feminist ! Hannah played poppy the elf and did a wonderful job all the children really responded well to her character. So the first day really to me was all about testing the waters , seeing what worked and what didn't.

Taking what I had learnt from the day before I came to Ham House with a better idea of how to approach my character. My initial costume of a suit was replaced with a bright red dress, Santa hat , boots and a big over sized coat. This simple change in costume was exactly what I needed to do in order to create a connection between me and Santa Claus for the children. I genuinely felt a lot more relaxed in my role with this change of costume and my character developed a softer and warmer side. The children didn't know much about Mrs Claus but were able to interact with me better due to my attire, it became apparent that in order for them to see me as Mrs Claus they needed the visual connection which was the bright red dress and hat. I didn't have to change my characters appearance but I felt it necessary other wise I think I would of been unhappy with my end performance.

However I didn't change my character completely she was still quick witted and confident but her focus had shifted from her own personal achievements to Christmas which the children understood better. But the day itself wasn't all about the children it was a family fun day so we had to be able to cater to adults as well. On my first day it was mainly about the children and how myself and Hannah interacted with them. On the Sunday a group of adults came up to the Buttery with out children and just presumed that our piece wasn't aimed at them but I asked them just as I did the children , what they wanted for Christmas. As soon as I had engaged them with the opening questions they felt relaxed and began to ask me and Hannah questions which was brilliant. With adults being the ones to fire the questions I could give answers back that children necessarily wouldn't understood. Someone asked me what I did on my day off to which I replied " A nice hot bath with a Catherine cookson novel " This sort of humour is something the adults could relate to and I particularly enjoyed this part of the day as I could try out jokes that were of more adult humour and understanding.

I did have an issue with my time at Ham House and that was my face painting skills ! Some members of the group were utterly fantastic at it, I myself however wasn't. But I still had a go anyway but wont be putting face painting on my c.v any time soon! All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Ham House the whole process was incredibly exciting but hard work at the same time. And I look forward to our summer project there when we can use the beautiful gardens and maybe just maybe not eat as many biscuits !

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

key to the door !

I am exhausted ! It has been such a busy week since i last blogged . So last Wednesday in our lesson we developed the Q&A with the clauses further and were hot seated by the rest of the class. I really enjoyed this although some of the questions the class asked us would not be suitable for young ears , not mentioning any names ..... Rachel Cheesewright ! That lesson I felt was extremely productive and also a lot of fun! But the fun and frolics of Wednesday did not end there , oh no ! I donned on a wig a god awful suit and a very thick scouse accent and became cilia Black ! Briony needed actors for her T.v and production project especially someone that could do a scouse accent and because I have perfected the accent so well (haha) she chose me ! I tell you what t.v is a lot different than film for a start you don't need to project your voice because there is microphones and then you have to get ridiculously close to people ! But it was excellent experience even if I was strutting about presenting blind date !

Thursday was an exceptionally busy day too ! I had Irish theatre then a vocal workshop with patsy , I tell you her voice is incredible and she really knows what she is talking about too ! The workshop was brilliant and hopefully I will be able to join the choir she is setting up too . After singing my heart out for two hours I then went to the theatre for a talk on P.R with the charming Endyia . Endyia gave us a presentation on how to P.R ourselves in the industry for free through social networking which includes twitter and blogs such as this ! It was so simple yet effective and everyone took something a way from it , some more than others ( i.e myself with a bottle of gin )! Yes that's right yours truly won a bottle of Gin , how I hear you cry , well its quite simple I had to sell myself in 30 seconds ! I won't disclose too many details but lets just say it involved a rather spectacular impression of heather small! Until our talk I had never really put much thought into P.R but that's all changed now and I see how valuable and important it is . And like so many of my tales we of course ended up at the pub afterwards.

Friday, we were in Ham house for a run through of all the stories and performances which was great to get the feel of the house in costume . Our costumes involve plenty of layers , gloves , Xmas jumpers and the ever fashionable wellies ! While I can speak positively of this my own performance on Friday I can not ! I left the lecture on Friday deeply dissatisfied with myself as our Q&A sectioned did not go as well as it had on the Wednesday before . On Friday we somehow managed to loose all structure which meant the piece lasted too long at parts and we lost sight of our characters and were merely answering questions as ourselves but we have a plan and this will be changed!

So after Fridays rather unsettling performance of my behalf I rushed to the station to catch the train to Liverpool for one night only ! It was my birthday the next day and being the dutiful granddaughter that I am , I went home to have a meal with my family on the Saturday . Birthdays are so stressful ! so much to do and organise ! I spent the majority of my birthday dyeing my hair , why I don't know but I did! In between emergency trips to boots to rectify my hair which had gone blonde ! I managed to fit in a family meal at Briars Hall which is a beautiful hotel in the country not far from my house , my grandad is a rather persuasive man and had managed to talk the hotel into opening their restaurant in the day , which they don't usually do especially when its only for six people ! The meal was wonderful and extremely humorous as ever with my grandad announcing that he would like to get married to my nan at the hotel as he wasn't sure until then if she was the right woman for him , they have been together for nearly 60 years ! ( and are already married )!

A meal and a different hair colour later I was on the train back to London with my two friends from home , Lisa and Emma. We had a mini party on the train complete with birthday cake and bucks fizz ! At Euston I picked up three more stragglers from home and headed to wild wild whitton for my sailor themed birthday party which I was celebrating with fellow D.I.C member Rachel . As always I was late but that didn't dampen the party and I had a fantastic time and everyone bought me wonderful and useful presents; vodka , strongbow , fake tan and a new fake tan mit! Now you would think that after partying till 6 am that I would have the next day free to sleep all day well I didn't , yes that's right boys and girls I got up after two hours sleep and went to comedy school ! ( as you do)

My sense of direction isn't great at the best of times but when I am suffering from the night before I am useless , which of course is a great use when your in Camden and trying to find a road which you have no idea of the name of it ! But luckily Mark the beacon Griffin was roaming around Camden and showed us the way ! My day at comedy school was amazing , I participated in workshops, talks on getting started in the industry and even met with a bbc casting director ! But of course not forgetting the Q&A session with Hugh Dennis who was very entertaining and slightly drunk ! The whole day really made me realise how much I love comedy and I am definitely going to do one of the 8 week courses in the new year. After comedy school we headed to the pub for a drink and discussion on the days activity's , but all that talking made us hungry and we went to a delightful Lebanese restaurant to ease those hunger pains !

So as you can see I had a rather hectic week and I have a feeling this week will be pretty much the same , with the first ham house perform ace on Saturday and plenty of work to be getting on with but I am not complaining as I love every minute of it and in less than two weeks I will be in Spain! ( Jealous much) !

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

a cheesy sign off line

Well it's been a whole week since I last blogged and what have I done since then ? to be honest I really don't know the whole week has just been a blur ! Lets see on Wednesday we had a D.I.C lecture where we went through possible poems and stories for the Ham House Christmas project , I wasn't really into mine and was starting to feel a bit lost about my place in the project but luckily that all changed on Friday but more about that later. Now Wednesday was also a dear friend of mines 21st Birthday the lovely Leon ! So in true Drama style we all glammed up for a night on the tiles in central at Zoo bar which I have to say I wasn't particularly fond of ! But the night itself was brilliant plenty of drama peeps came along to wish Leon a happy birthday. I don't want to divulge to much but lets just say it was a night of messy madness and I loved it ! Everyone was merry and on top form , I even did my heather small impression for a few lucky people ! It wouldn't be a drama night out without drama and boy did we have it , by the bucket load ! Ewart had twisted his ankle but didn't realise until he started to bust a move ! Oh and poor Sammy managed to get her phone stolen as we were walking to the night bus stop , we think she may have accidentally lost it when she was buying those oh so important chips at the end of the night ! But apart from that it was a fabulous night.

National rail were the bane of my life last week! I had to go into central for a meal with my uncle but was really late because the signs at the train station kept lying to me ! It would say the train was cancelled so I would run over to the other platform but when I got there the supposedly cancelled train came ! I was not impressed but my meal with my uncle made up for it . He has to be my favourite uncle and not just because he pays for a 3 course meal with cocktails, well maybe!

Now onto Friday ! So Friday we were in the house getting a feel for it so when we come to perform we will be familiar with it . Now as I mentioned before I was starting to worry about my role in the Christmas project , I wasn't satisfied with my poem and my performance however thanks to Karina and Megan that's all changed! The had come up with the concept of a question and answers session with Mrs Claus santa's son and a elf , well as soon as they suggested it I was in ! So being the shrinking violet that I am , it was quite out of character for me to put myself forward for the part of Mrs Claus ! We came up with the idea that Mrs Claus is feminist who is the brains behind the whole operation , who has a family and a career she does it all , what a woman! My part will involve knowing the back story to Mrs Claus but in order to make the Q&A real I will be hot seated by the audience , which I am so excited for because I love improvisation and hot seating , all in all the perfect part for me !

Now with Hard work comes Hard play and last week was the week of the birthdays! So on Friday night after waiting a HOUR ! for the 281 we eventually made to Jack's birthday at the red lion. I don't smoke but I swear sometimes I suffer because of this as everyone I was out with was puffing a way outside , so guess who else has to be outside ... me ! After spending our time at the red lion outside we hopped on the wonderfully reliable 281 to Kingston to Baccus the smallest club in the world, I am pretty sure my wardrobe is bigger than the dance floor ! But like Cinderella I was going to turn into a pumpkin if I stayed out too late so me Kate and Zoe left at 1.

The weekend went by in no time probably because I slept away most of it , I got sent home from work for being ill which meant I missed out on tips but then got to sleep for hours for medicinal purposes , swings and roundabouts you see ! On Sunday I met up with my partner in crime Zoe to talk business , well the 12 hour musical which everyone will be coming too !

Living in London and being a fan of the theatre I thought I would go and see something cultured and wildly intelligent and on the pulse so what did I go and see.....New Moon , of course ! I am not ashamed to admit it I love the twilight saga ! Edward , Bella , Jacob the whole gang ! I read the first three books in the summer in the space of a week , they took over my life ! I really enjoyed the film and my ice blast ! all in all a perfect evening ! As always I have chattered on for far too long and I am sure I have plenty of work I could be doing ,so until next time keep watching the sky ! hahaha

Sunday, 15 November 2009

In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street, and in the dark, dark street there was a dark, dark Ham House,

That night the sky was a black as coal the rain fell so heavily it pierced my skin and the wind was strong and violent blowing everything out of its path. The stretch of road was bare but as the rain pelted against the windows and the wind gently rocked the car a shiver went down my spine was it nervousness or excitement I was feeling? The usual short car journey up the path seem to take forever ,my eyes darted about looking at everything and thinking how different it all looked illuminated in the moon light. The house was in darkness apart from the dim flames of the candles burning in the windows , with every new step towards the door my heart began to race, rapidly as the wind whistled teasingly in my ear until we reached the front door. As I reached for the door handle a loud clap of thunder broke in the dark nights sky , we jumped back in terror and their right behind us
stood ...........Derek Acorah ! how funny would that be if it actually happened

But seriously we went to a ghost tour of the House which was brilliant , the house was completely different at night all quiet and eerie. We were taken around the house by two tour guides ken and Raymond who told us stories about the ghosts and the spooky goings on in the house by torch light. We were told there had been quite a few ghostly sightings at the house but unfortunately we didn't see any that night but who knows in the weeks to come !

The tour went beyond the house into the gardens which were even more beautiful at night if it is possible . The house is steeped in all sorts of unique personal history that made the tour all the more interesting as the guides really bought the people to life. Raymond what a legend ! he was our tour guide for outside and what a story teller he was ! As he guided us around the gardens telling us spooky tales he would use pause to create tension and speak quietly and softly to draw all the audience in , the man is a pro! I loved loved loved the ghost tour but was deeply disappointed not to have seen a ghost and was rather gutted that I didn't get the chance to do my Derek acorah impression!

Apologies for my poem on Friday it was a bit of a tongue twister and seemed to go on forever , don't get me wrong I liked playing the part of an old lady; head scarf hunch the works but the poem itself I felt didn't move on swiftly enough to engage children or adults to be quite frank. I had other stories prepared which I think would be better for the project at Christmas. We also did some exercises to try and create a certain atmosphere without doing the obvious acting moves, which was harder than most of us anticipated.

Today however has been MAD I have not stopped all day ! yet another wonderful musical lecture with Michelle talking about Billy Elliot . Also I have booked my flight to Spain , spiral here I come ! Although ryanair are unbelievable I seriously think they may charge me to breath on the flight since they charge for everything else ! But that isn't the important part actually going to Spain is ! I am really excited to go in December although I do not speak a word of Spanish but I can learn !

Third year is so hectic right now and I absolutely love it ! I am getting to do so much amazing stuff that I really don't want to ever leave uni. Also just going to take this opportunity to plug the ' 12 hour musical ' on the 7Th December , I expect to see you audience there for the full 12 hours , only joking! Anyway I have rambled on for quite a while and I do believe its tea time ( dinner time to you southerners)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

In the pouring rain!

Todays blog entry is just a quick one to say thank you to all the people who came to see me on friday night. On friday I was involved in a event called sit with art which was a showcase of different art forms , there was poetry readings , talks on art, dancing , singing and comedy from yours truly ! Jess Morgan ( tanya's sister) oragnised the whole thing and I was very grateful to be asked . Jess is a singer songwriter who attends the Brit school and is truly wonderful !

let me paint you a picture of friday , it was dark , cold and raining cats and dogs ! yet my friends braved it all the way to isslington ! Zoe was soaked through and I was running around with no coat on trying to find people but it was all worth it ! I am not gonna lie I was actually terrified because I feel with comedy there is so much pressure to make people laugh , my heart was literally in my hands when I was waitin to go on.

I performed a comedy monologue that I had wrote myself which made the whole experience even more daunting but at the same time amazing , I absolutley loved every moment of it ! It was great to see everyones faces when I was performed and it was fantastic when people laughed because I was so nervous no one would find it funny. And afterwards in true perormance style we went to the pub and once again I sipped cider like a lady ! So thanks again to everyone who came I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did !

Monday, 2 November 2009

migrating north for the winter !

Fellow bloggers , I write to you today from a far off distant land known as Ormskirk a.k.a my home town ! I decided that a visit home was in order and you know what I am glad I did ! I decided not to tell my family of my visit and surprise them but when I got home I was ringing the bell for ages because my mum didn't answer the door straight away because she thought I was selling something , charming ! It is great to be home especially since I get to see my grandparents as my grandad is possibly the funniest man alive ! He has recently had a new shower installed and is so impressed with it he says its a waste to use it as a shower and instead wants to hang plants in it ! I swear my whole family are crackers we make the Adam's family look sane !

well what a week I have had ! It was a sad day for my house in wild wild whitton on Wednesday as Kate's beloved hamster nelson passed away but he had a great life and was quite the fitness fanatic I can tell you ! he spent hours and hours on that wheel lets hope there is a giant one for him in hamster heaven ! Thursday was the drama social in vodka revs , which was great because we got to mix with the first and second years which doesn't happen very often but hopefully will more in the future . And Friday well Friday was Franks birthday and what a night it was ! we all sauntered along to Hounslow arriving in style by the 281 and then having no idea where the pub was but thankfully Sammy has a keen sense of direction and she got us all there in one piece! Frank was as always on top form a always! Frank was up singing and dancing the whole night as was everyone else and I have to mention Ben and Jacks rendition of ' Don't let me down ' they tried they really did but lets just say we won't be seeing them on x factor anytime soon ! unless they become st Mary's answer to John and Edward ! Halloween is always a favourite night of mine and this year was no exception , I went to a party at fellow drama and community goer Ben's flat in Clappham which was so much fun especially since me ,Sammy and Rachel dressed up as zombie children !
OK OK back to what I am actually meant to talk about! So we had a talk about films and the national trust , they get a lot of money to open their doors I tell you ! I only wish someone would pay me that to film in our house but no one would apart from Kim and Aggy! I think personally using the likes of Ham House in films is a great idea because the money goes back into the house and therefore everybody wins !

This Friday however we had a behind the scenes tour with Pam and her hubby a delightful chap but I can't remember his name ! Both of them are volunteers and obviously loved the house greatly which was apparent throughout the tour as they both knew their stuff and made it interesting. During our all access back stage tour we came across a window with the name Emily scratched onto it , Pam told us that it had been scratched onto the window by a member of staff called John McFarlane who later committed suicide! Now some sceptics i.e Mark Griffin suggested that it was just a simple case of John liking Emily and she not returning the affection. However I myself believe that they were two star crossed lovers separated by the class system who could never be together in the physical world but would one day be reunited in another more accepting world !( ha ha) But of course this is only speculation and he could of been writing the name Emily because he forgot his own !

What I love about drama in the community is that; I get to really use my imagination as does everyone else making the ideas process fascinating. Now I can't recall who came up with the idea but someone suggested that we be dotted around the house telling different stories to people and that we would have to improvise with the audience , I absolutely love this idea ! You never know what children are going to say and it would be great to interact with children and adults as a character. Mark was talking about people possibly taking on the role of ' actors' putting on a play and having them be like a comedy duo, one really serious and one that is silly and relying on good comic timing to make it successful.

After the lecture on Friday I really started to get excited about the project , I have a great feeling about it and I truly believe we can make it a success. There is a great bunch of people in the module no two people the same which I believe will definitely work in the company's favour as everyone can bring something unique to the table! At this current time I am undecided exactly what path I will take within the production but to be honest since I am attending all three weekends I wouldn't mind having a go at a bit of everything.

Are your eyes tired yet I will stop soon , I promise ! Also on Friday I went to see ' The dumb waiter' by Harold Pinter put on by members of the drama society. I have never seen any of Pinter's work staged before and I was rather intrigued to see what it would be like. I enjoyed the play and thought it was suited to being one act and the two second years playing Gus and Ben did a great job ! It was quite a week and I have a feeling this week is going to be just as chaotic so I am sure I will have plenty to write about as always for my next blog entry !

Monday, 19 October 2009

♫ Don't dream it be it ♫

It was just a jump to left then a step to righhhhttttt! All the way to woking to see my beloved Rocky horror , extreme some might cry , alas not for a die hard fan such as myself . I love love love Rocky Horror , have done since I first saw the film many moons ago. I know , I know it's not avante garde theatre or some hot new writer but I don't care I love it ! To break away from my usual tradition of dressing up when I go to see it I decided to wear my normal clothes and see whether that effected my experience , well it didn't make they tiniest bit off difference. To those of you who are unaware of Rocky horror 1. I am shocked and appalled 2. go and see it now ! What I love about it is that it doesn't take itself too seriously its fun and eccentric and just a tad bit naughty from start to finish ! I took my house mate Amy who had never even heard of Rocky Horror really apart from when I bang on about it. I gave her a word of warning to go in with an open mind and I think it worked because she really enjoyed it , admittedly taken back at times by some of its rather absurd and risque moments but never the less , she had a good time!I know I am banging on about it now and I will try and stop but it's hard this is my favourite musical ! Where is woking ? I know I went but honestly I wouldn't be able to find it again! my sense of direction isn't the greatest at times but I need to stop thinking that I have an inner compass when I blatantly don't , just ask zoe! I once tried to direct us to the McDonald's in twickenham and we ended up in southhall thanks to me and what really takes the biscuit never got a maccy d's !

Patsy Burns , have you found the fountain of youth ! no seriously we had a vocal workshop with the delectable Geordie today and I just kept thinking , you look younger than me . Patsy if your reading this let me in on your secret ! On a serious note the workshop was brilliant and it was good to get the old vocal cords in motion again , not many people no this but I used to be a keen musical theatre performer and actually auditioned to go to musical theatre school , however fate intervened in the form of my dodgy nose and led me down the path of st.Mary's which was definately the better choice for me ! Patsy was just like an oracle of voice knowledge and I really hope I get to work with her again.

Ladels and Jelly spoons its been quite a day and I think it's time to retire to my chamber , so I bid you goodnight and hope you learn a valuable lesson from this blog enrty ...................................That Rocky Horror is amazing !

Saturday, 17 October 2009

sensible shoes

So with Michelle being off recently I have been using my free time wisely ....not but I am not gonna bore you with the details (that's a lie ) ha ! So on Monday the ' cardboard citizens ' came to uni and we all piled into the theatre to see them , and I tell you what it was well worth the £ 8 ! They are company that uses forum theatre to tell stories and allows the audiences to take part and try and change the outcome , most of their work is performed in hostels with a lot of their work being by Homeless people for Homeless people. Plenty of people got up and tried to resolve the problem and I do wish that I had got up because I did have some ideas. However I had a serious issue that stopped me from getting up on stage .... my shoes ! I swear the heels were 5 inches tall and I just knew if I got up in those shoes I would end up stacking it in front of everyone which wouldn't usually be a problem because I not the most graceful at the best of times but it really wasn't the time or place for another high moment in my life involving me embarrassing myself again!
After the performance we headed to the s.u along with actors , were along with sipping cider and black through a straw ( class act , I know ) I chatted ( harassed) the actors about how they started with the company and if they had any advice for me , they were lovely and extremely helpful. I was really interested in finding out how they began to write the plays as I have a keen interest in writing and would love to have a go at writing and performing my own forum piece.
When Mark set us the task of performing a story for no longer than 5 minutes, straight away I thought of the poem ' the owl and the pussy cat ' as it was a favourite of mine as a child. Zoe was really excited and we went into creative mode and lets just say with us two the sky is the limit. We decided that we wouldn't be content with just telling the story but rather building a set and acting the poem out. We then went trawling through Twickenham charity shops and even made a brief visit to a timber yard! I randomly had loads of cardboard in my house so the obvious thing to do was to make a pea green boat ! have you ever tried to find pea green paint its hard , like trying to find tartan paint !
I loved working with Zoe because her enthusiasm for theatre is infectious and she was brilliant and full of ideas. We had so much fun it was like we were in blue peter , we had cardboard all over her living room and paint everywhere including on my feet because as always I was my accident prone self! I can't draw to save my life but luckily Zoe can and I am a dab hand with a paint brush so we were the perfect creative team. I was actually quite nervous to perform it on Friday but once we got into it I enjoyed it getting so into it I knocked a wine bottle over with my tale !
How beautiful is Ham House gardens , seriously ! When we got given the tour the whole way round I reckon i probably looked like a goldfish with my mouth wide open . I was pleased to find out that even when the house is shut to the public the gardens are still open. So that's on my to-do list now along with the ghost tour , which I am so excited for I hope its just like most haunted down to the annoying scouse one , no not me! I mean Derek Acorah

Friday, 25 September 2009

One small step for technophobe kind!

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Drama in the community ! Where I will tell you my thoughts and goings on ( aren't you lucky!) and generally comment on everything that is happening within this module and some little extras about my life outside of the module , if you play your cards right!

So on friday I went along to the comedy night in the theatre , where we were to be entertained by comedians from the school of comedy in camden . I thoroughly enjoyed the night but some did appeal to me more than others. All in all the night was a success and I hope it is the first of many more comedy nights at uni and after that in true student style we went the s.u to see a d.j called shai fx which I spent most of the night calling him chai tea! On Saturday I ventured down to the Mary Wallace theatre , which is a little theatre in Twickenham hidden away by the Barmy arms. My good friend Bonnie was staring in a play called Iron by Rona Munro . The play attempted to pull heavy on the heartstrings with it's strained relationship through a mother and a daughter , but lack of movement on stage meant it was easy for the audience to become disengaged. But Bonnie was great and it was great to go to a theatre I had new been to do let alone never knew exisited.
My weekend of entertainment didn't end there on saturday evening me , kate , sammy and fellow drama in the community fiend rachel went to the smarts festival . It had a great laid back feel and we just sat and sipped cider like ladies and listened to the music. Next on my theatrical agenda was to go and see ' Popcorn' at uni which was a piece being directed by ex drama student , matt stenning . The play itself really surprised me and the time flew by , so well done to matt and the second years !