ACTing!

Some night time car musings from Juila:

This is Julia’s musing face

 It’s early evening. The sun has set and the sky is cloudless, deep, and speckled with stars. A moon cresant is smiling back at me, reflected in the window of our Tarago. Team H is driving to Canberra.

 This is one of the most magical parts of this job: traveling. Roadtrips fill me with anticipation and excitement. I love watching the countryside out of the window: up close it wizzes by, out in the far distance it glides slowly. It’s mesmorising, and my thoughts drift away like the landscape I’m watching.

 I’ve been to Canberra once before, also on a tour. I feel so lucky to be able to travel with the purpose of work – it’s very fulfilling. Bell Shakespeare is Australia’s only national theatre company… Not surprising that it’s the only one as I’m quickly learning how big our country is. We are tiny compared to the vast stretches of desert and road between cities. It’s easy to feel insignificant in such sprawling space, which is why it is so important to connect. And telling stories is one of the oldest ways we do that.

Canberra, we can’t wait to bring you our stories. And we can’t wait to hear yours as well. Thank you Bell Shakespeare for helping us connect.

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Lady Macbeth: Evil?

There have been lots of questions from the students about the character of Lady Macbeth and why she is so keen to go through with the murder of Duncan. Although it is easy to just paint her as purely evil, from an acting perspective this should never be the case. We shouldn’t judge her, she is a well rounded human who loves her husband and just wants them to have a great future together.

As far a playing a character like this it is always easier to empathise with what she is going through, put yourself in her shoes. How far would you go to get what you want….?

A little water clears us of this deed. Macbeth 2.2


Back on the road with Team H

Matilda shares the adventures of Team H over the last week – sounds exhuasting (but so fun!)

 

Matilda: So another big week is drawing to a close. We have had a massive week. Masterclasses and a couple of great performances of Midsummer Madness and Macbeth: Undone. Highlights include:

* it has been a challenge getting back into Actors at Work shows after 10weeks off but it has been fun to get back in front of the banners!

*the awesome lunch that we were made by the hospitality students from Bass Hill; rhubarb crumble, home-made quiche, hand-made croissants made from scratch… They were still warm!

Our gourmet lunch!!

* The wonderful costumed audience at PLC Croydon who were dressed in Shakespeare themed costumes, including a Macbeth, some witches, lots of fairies and A WALL!

* The awesome students at Merrylands who we had the most exciting ‘Shakespearean insult’ fight with ever. Such amazing, responsive, interested, intelligent students. It was a pleasure!

* Players dinner: we had a lovely dinner last night with the Team T crew before they head off for WA on Sunday! We will miss them when they go away for over a month!!!

* Learning to do the Masterclasses has been so much fun. It’s such a great program. The concentrated time that you can spend with a group, the great conversations and seeing students start to look at Shakespeare’s language differently is awesome. Already this week and last week I have seen some very funny Beatrices and Benedicks, some wicked Richard the Thirds, and some very moving Hamlets!

*Finally it’s Julia’s Birthday today! Woohoo! Here are the awesome cupcakes Bell got her and we are all enjoying!

Happy Birthday Julia!!


Back on the road with The Fairies: Re-finding our characters

Well, the Players are back on the road! After 4 weeks of performing Romeo And Juliet at the Sydney Opera House, the Fairies are back in the Kia Carnival, chowing down heart-stopping fast food and coming to a school near you (and hopefully to yours). We came back to our two touring shows (Macbeth: Undone and Midummer Madness) like Tin Man to a grease pot – groaning at first but now ready like a bat out of hell to rock our long way to the top down the long and winding yellow brick road that leads right to your door. 

 

Ed trying to re-find his character

 We have learnt a lot coming back to these plays we know so well. The biggest lesson for me has been how easy it is to simply “go through the motions” in a performance and not commit to the true needs of your character. By the end of the year we will have done each of these plays over two hundred times each, maybe more, so the temptation is for us to get complacent in our performances. This basically means we can say all the words and do all the moves, but not strive for the heart of the character – that part of them that fights for what they need and listens to the other characters. Without this heart, you get actors talking at each other, rather than to each other.

So, how do you avoid this? I’m discovering that this is where the work starts! It’s one thing to ‘solve’ your character and nut out their needs and objectives etc, but quite another to sustain it for a long run of a show. I am realizing that the answer lies in your other actors. If you can keep rediscovering the joy of playing the scene – revel in playing the stakes and daring each other to commit to them, you can find some real flexibility in your performance. The trick is to have the courage to leap down the road of new discovery and not cling to your safe, pre-discovered choices. That’s a fair bit of acting jargon, and I’m still figuring it out, but I hope you find it interesting. 

See you cats soon,

Ed


Regional Performance Scholarship auditions

Calling out to all budding actors in regional Australia: Don’t forget to book an audition for Bell Shakespeare’s Regional Performance Scholarship!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to audition for the chance to come to Sydney for a week in 2013. You will spend the week in the rehearsal room with Bell Shakespeare actors and on top of that, you will have access to some of the best theatre practitioners and directors who will help develop your acting and performing techniques.

Take  a look at where our 2003 winner Miranda Tapsell has ended up: http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-diary/a-big-night-for–sapphires-to-sparkle-20120520-1yz37.html
(We’ll give you a hint: it’s a film festival and it’s in France! This could be you!!)

Our 2011 Winners at Bell HQ in February this year

We will be running auditions at the following regional centers:
Orange
Lismore
Wagga Wagga
Bathurst
Penrith
Dubbo
Port Macquarie
Newcastle
Wollongong
Coloundra
Townsville
Mackay
Alice Springs
Darwin
Ballarat
Frankston
Warrnambool
Launceston
Hobart
Geraldton
Mandurah
Albany

Drop us a line at learning@bellshakespeare.com.au or call us on 1300 305 730 to find out when we will be in your neck of the woods. If you can’t make it to a venue, we will also be accepting video auditions this year. Just email learning@bellshakespeare.com.au for more info.

For more information about this special opportunity, check out our facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/events/423927577647900/

Break a leg!!