Thursday, 22 December 2011

REJECTION


So, rejection. One of the most important things to know about and experience in this industry. Rejections are funny things. You enter a room ready and prepared as best you can be for an audition. You either enjoy it or loath it and then you come out of the room analysing how it went.If you feel it went dreadfully, you usually cut your losses and don’t expect to hear anything.
If you feel it went well, however, the story is much different, sometimes even worse. Even though the best way to deal with auditioning is to just do your best and then forget about it, it is still hard to not want to hear. You’ve come out of the audition, you’ve enjoyed it, you feel you got on with the director and (although you really don’t want to admit it) you feel you were better than the rest. You would hire you if you were them. 
Then, that dreadful day arrives that they said they would contact you and you spend the whole day constantly refreshing your email until you finally receive the one you were waiting for. 
You open it, visualising what it would say and then you read, “I’m really sorry, but on this occasion…” and, if you are lucky, “If you would like fuller feedback on the audition do feel free to get in touch.”
I remember my first rejection. I was about eleven years old and had just had my first ever screen test for the prequel they were making of the Black Stallion. The person on the phone just said that they had decided they were going to go with an all-American cast. I was devastated. I really thought I would have wowed them. I had been told I was so good and then I didn’t even get the job. 
Once rejected, the analysing starts again. You thought it went so well. Who could it that got it? Your ego is slightly deflated and your judgement questioned. Your supposed to be a trained actor, ready to analyse your performance and give yourself constructed criticism to get better. You don’t know whether you care or not. Maybe you built the job up too much in your head. The fact is you will care. You wouldn’t have gone for the job if you didn’t want it to some degree.
BUT! As my friend Julie Hartley, a South African actress, said on the phone after my first rejection,  I would have to get used to it. Take the experience and move on. My parents have also said this all the way through my life. I have learnt there will probably be a more rejections than jobs. Mr. Gideon Emery told me, you can’t dwell on it. Give yourself a day and move on. There could be 101 reasons why someone else got the job. If they don’t give you reason don’t stress about it too much. 
I have learnt through my career that every audition is an experience. It will teach me something new every time and I am grateful for that. As an actor, I welcome rejection as much as a job. Of course I would prefer to work, but it is all a learning curve. I look forward to a long career full of experiences!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

WRITING


Today, I decided to escape to a quant little cafe, not too far away, to just sit and write - it has been blissful! I have written several short films and stories just to keep the juices flowing. It has been awesome trying to plan how I would shoot them. 
The most amazing thing about writing is that it keeps me creative everyday. And it also keeps me working =]

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A GREAT ENCOUNTER

So, the other day, I met with a remarkable young woman by the name of Anna-Maria Despres. It was brilliant to be able to talk with someone who had such passion for filmmaking and also offered such a brilliant new perspective and new opinions. We have met a few times since and have talked over past projects we have done and I feel we will really work well together on projects in the future.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

SHOWREEL

So, finally the showreel has been completed! I’m ecstatic with it so far. There is still some more dialogue stuff I’m waiting for which will be added but for now this is what I’ve got, a brilliantly edited by Luke Cecil in conjunction with his new company!

SHOWREEL


My showreel. Edited by Luke Cecil with music from the Glee Cast - Rumour Has It. 
Contains footage from (in order of appearance):
Buttercups. dir. Donna Griffiths. Character played - Little Girl.
A Story of many Faces. dir. Luke Cecil. Character played - Elizabeth.
Why Must I Be So Black and Blue. dir. Sam Boardman-Jacobs. Character played - Performer.
It’s Not You, It’s Your Uniform. dir. Self-devised. Character played - Myself.
A Story of Many Faces. dir. Luke Cecil. Character played - Aimee.
Tired. dir. Asha Cecil. Character played - Women.
From A to B. dir. Asha Cecil. Character played - Lisa.
Merlin. dir. David Moore.
Girls Night Out. dir. Sean Tuan John. Character Played - Monet.

Friday, 25 November 2011

AT SWIM TWO BOYS


So, on the 23rd of November, I went to see Earthfall’s latest production based on the Jamie O’Neill novel, At Swim Two Boys. 
I must admit that ever since I saw The Factory last year, I have been in love with the work Earthfall has produced and I have seen a lot of clips of their previous performances including the original At Swim Two Boys production.
Well, I can tell you, nothing compares to seeing it live! I was completely blown away. The story was beautiful already, but the way it was conveyed through dance was incredible. The intensity of both the actors, Daniel Connor and Murilo Leite, really transported the audience and nothing beat being splashed by the water during their amazing sequences. 
Seeing stories told in this style really inspires me to make work and explore different ways to tell stories. Also, seeing the intensity and focus of these actors was really something to take note of. These two men only had their bodies and focus to tell their story and they did it beautifully! It really was a truly inspirational experience! I enjoyed it so much, I saw it again the following night =] 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

BUTTERCUPS - A SECOND TIME 'ROUND


So, we have started again. Buttercups took place on the stage again last night, this time in the Soar Theatre in Merthyr Tydfil! 
Was absolutely excellent to do it again! After the rehearsals and just being able to get into the swing of it again, getting on the stage was just brilliant.
The stage was completely different, though. It was so much bigger than before and was incredibly challenging to fill the space with the little movement that happens within the show. However, with the new stuff we added into the show, I think we succeeded in our task.
The audience seemed to react well to the play, too. We had a lot of great feedback about the energy and pace of the show. We fixed a lot of the sections people mentioned were lacking in pace and got feedback saying it had improved from last time.
I really hope that this piece goes further but it was brilliant to just be able to do it again!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

BUTTERCUPS BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

Started rehearsals on Thursday for the new performance of Buttercups on the 18th November, in the Soar Theatre in Merthyr Tydfil. It was great to have the gang back together again. Thoroughly enjoyed the first reading since September. We also have many things we are going to add and change since the last time, including the ending, which was said to lack a little pace, so we have added some stunning physical pieces to bring the energy up. I am very excited to see how it will turn out!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

TIME TO GET AN AGENT!


Right, so the time has come to get an agent. I waited until I had done a few shows so that there was more professional work on my CV but now it is time to send my stuff off to agents. I sent my packages off today!! 
First though, I had to find the agents to apply to. There were some I already knew about but for the others I went through my 2011 edition of Contacts from Spotlight with a highlighter trying to find some suitable, focusing on agencies based quite close to where I live at the moment. After creating my list I researched all the agencies and went through the people on their books already to check if there was room for me and tried only to apply to the agents that I thought I’d be suitable. 
After finalising the list, it was time to write the cover letter. I learnt that with a cover letter you should:
  • Have a clear purpose and reason for writing the them, such as if you have a show coming up.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Make sure it is personalised and not just group text.
And now that each of my cover letters have been written and printed, along with the prints of my two new headshots and my updated CV I have sent off my packages and wait to hear back. I have written to them inviting them to come see the second performance of Buttercups, on the 18th November. 
I’m glad the packages are complete and I now I know what I’m doing so it won’t take me too long if I have to go through the process again!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

MUSIC AS INSPIRATION


Music has always been something that has truly inspired me to create work. Some pieces just ignite such images that a story comes to you immediately. Some just ignite the motivation to just create something.
On 19th of September, this ignition fired itself in me as I was listening to the great Abel Korzeniowski’s work on the brilliant Tom Ford film, A Single Man. As I was lying on my bed feeling useless and bored, I turned on my iTunes and started playing the album. I thought it would help me meditate but instead I just felt like I needed to do something. In my head images started appearing and I just thought to myself “I can just film this..”
The idea changed as I stood in front of the mirror about to prepare myself to be filmed.Stillness of the Mind was playing. I decided to just turn the camera on and start filming this. I planned on just doing a very short film of someone getting ready, everyday activity, and what is beneath it. Something that is done so well in A Single Man.
As the camera was rolling, my mind was racing. I was in this mind, this idea of needed to get myself prepared for going out, for being seen. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I was reminded of how I had to fix my hair, my face, make sure I didn’t get certain parts of my body in shot, etc. My impulses took over and I just started to do anything. What the film turned into was something much different to what I thought it was going to be. It became to be about how tiring it can get sometimes to just be. To just exist. It was an experiment and above is the outcome. 
Tired. A small experiment.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

BUTTERCUPS - THE SHOW!


So, on Friday, the 9th of September, Buttercups celebrated the night that it was finally open to the public audience. It was really something. 
Performing it felt brilliant. I found myself truly lost in the character and the moment. All through rehearsals I tried to apply all I had learnt from Sam Boardman-Jacob during the last two shows. I really concentrated and focused through the show and living in the moment was one thing I felt I had achieved. 
The show had nothing to do with who was watching it or that it was being marked. It was only about this Little Girl telling her story. The recreation of scenes felt there. It was about seeing what I said I was seeing. 
The show seemed to have come at a prime time. A story about one of the most devastating disasters in Wales being told on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of one of the most devastating disasters I had ever known - 9/11. This added an understanding of what the Little Girl was going through. I felt even more of a connection because it was not only the 166 lost people and their families that called for empathy from me, but also the 2,819 lost people and their families that were in my thoughts. Throughout rehearsals I found myself thinking about all the disastrous events that I remember and all those people involved. Like the tsunami in 2004 that claimed the lives of over 225,000, and the Haiti earthquake in 2010 that most estimates of lost now exceed 220,000 people and still counting. All of these have brought this piece so much closer to home. What Donna had gone through and all these people was unimaginable and to act in a piece portraying their story was an honour.
The feedback given was incredible. In my personal opinion, it deserved it. Donna wrote a beautiful memoir of what happened that day. It was a great privilege to be involved and I can’t wait to do it again! 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11


By far one of the worst days of my life. I remember it like it was yesterday! I was in South Africa, a young 11 yr old, horse-riding and acting enthusiast, who had just completed a riding lesson when my 16yr old aunt told me that World War Three had started. I was baffled and scared. Driving home, I was confused at what had happened, don’t think I even knew what the Twin Towers were until I had gotten home and witnessed the South Tower get hit. The landmark symbols of so many films, everything that depict New York for me was slowly burning to the ground. My mother was crying on the couch watching the news and I walked in and it hit me. The numbers of people in those beautiful buildings. What it actually meant was happening. What seemed like something that could only happen in a movie was happening in real time on my screen at home. 
As I cry now, watching the memorial services, I remember how, even as a young 11yr old girl, I bled for all those who were affected. I, even then, realised how much pain and suffering would be felt that day. However, it is now as I have grown that I realise the pain it has caused for a lifetime. That day 10years ago will stay with me forever. It touches my soul and when I feel the urge to complain, I remember this pain and count my blessings. These disasters and wasted life hurts my soul and I shed tears for all those who have ever been touched by all that is happening now, in the wars, those who are still missing those they have lost, those who are still physically and mentally wounded by that day, all of you. Every single person will remember that day and it will stick with us forever. My love to all of those who have ever been affected by that day, past, present and future.
I am sorry this may seem in a bit of a shambles but this is more of a stream of consciousness. I am so full of mixed emotions I felt I needed to say something. Please, lets live our lives full of love, compassion and peace. 
Love to all and my thoughts with everyone on this day! 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

DONNA GRIFFITHS' BUTTERCUPS


Donna Griffiths was just under four years old when she witnessed the Aberfan disaster which claimed the life of 144 people, 116 of whom were children. She, along with countless others, did not discuss her feelings and memories until she was older. Now, many years after the events that inspire the tale, as a fledgling practitioner, she presents Buttercups, ”a leafing through the pages of memoirs - real and imagined - of survivors.”
Buttercups, is an original, experimental approach for the telling of a story which, though personal to the author, explores differing reactions to the burden of knowledge.
What happens when we keep secrets? Are the reverberations still felt by those around us? Do we sometimes say too much? Is the pain of survival -  the guilt shared by countless thousands across the globe who have remained while those they loved were lost - ever soothed by the passing of time? Or does it simmer in a timeless cauldron waiting for the stirring of remembrance to resurrect the blistering spillage of eternal tears?
Starring:
Asha Cecil
Ifan Rhys Herridge
Matthew Hillier
Marie Suzanne Todd
Performed in the Atrium Theatre in Cardiff, September 9th, 2011.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

BUTTERCUPS RESEARCH





Images of the Aberfan Disaster, 21st October 1966. Claimed the lives of 144 people, 116 of them were children.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A CATCHUP ON BUTTERCUPS


I have been working quite hard on the new show I am doing, Buttercups, recently and thought that I would post a little something on how it is going so far.
The first time I read the script the night of the audition, the script made me cry! I find the story very moving and the script well written. What the show was about was what I think brought me to tears, especially the Little Girl and Little Boy’s sections where it progressively talks about the disaster and the discriptions of what was happening and the aftermath of what the disaster caused.
I knew about the disaster from school. One year we had an assembly on it and I had no clue what my Head Teacher was going on about but quickly became aware of how big the event was in Welsh history. Although I realised this, the day still didn’t mean very much to me as I still knew very little of the country and the valley. 
I have done some more research on that day in October, 1966 and considering it is now coming up to the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, the play and that day has never meant more to me. Donna has always said that Buttercups is not so much about the Aberfan Disaster, but more about disasters in general and the pain they cause and how different people deal with them. The two older characters in the play show us this. That idea I grasped very quickly but it is today that I realised how relevant this play is to now, and not only to those who experienced that horrid day in 1966 but to anyone who has ever experienced in some way any disaster.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

EARTHFALL - THE FACTORY




A GREAT OPPORTUNITY WITH EARTHFALL


End of show blues were cut short by an amazing opportunity to start doing classes with Earthfall every tuesday for the next 7 weeks. I have so far done 5 of them and they have been spectacular! The classes have asked for me to sustain a certain energy for 1.5 hours with intensive warm ups, choreographed routines and creative work fulling the time. I have worked with some amazing people already and met some awsum dancers on the way. The classes have been run by 2 Earthfall members each week, including 3 sessions which have been taken by Rosalind Brooks and Beth Powlesland who both performed in one of the greatest productions I’ve ever seen, The Factory
I got into Earthfall from a workshop I did through university with them based on The Factoryand that production itself. It was a type of dance theatre I had never seen before. I love the organic feel and energy the choreography entails and the stories they tell. Doing these classes are a priviledge in my opinion and I am very grateful they are running them as this is definately work I would love to approach in the future. 
I plan on taking all I’ve learnt from this as well as my previous experiences with Sam Boardman-Jacobs and creating a new piece soon myself based on ideas I have had for a really long time and never knew how to approach them. 
The classes are going really well and it just sucks they finish in 2 weeks but hopefully from then on I can continue to do this time of work myself and have more chance in being suitable for companies like Earthfall. Bring on the rest of my life!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

BUTTERCUPS - I GOT IT!


So, I got the part! I shall now be starring in Donna Griffiths’ new play, Buttercups. 
The audition was initially nerve-racking. Ms Griffiths kindly informed me of how many people she had already seen and how picky she was. She exclaimed how unfortunate it was that the other girl could no longer do it and that they strive for excellence. I told her that I did too and that I hoped she was happy with what I had to offer. 
After Donna had told me about the role, I was given the script to have a read through. The part I was going for was in fact Donna when she was a child. I remembered all that I was told about auditioning and just did it. I found myself not thinking about the job but about the role and what it meant. 
It was Donna’s story of when she was not yet four years old and she had witnessed the Aberfan disaster. She say the “mountain come down”. It was in her street that the disaster happened. What was to be her school. The section I read was her account of what she saw, or was seeing. That was all that was in my head. 
I was instructed not to pretend I was a little girl but to just read the part. I found myself not trying to act a young girl but just “living in the moment”. The show is a piece of experimental theatre and Donna says that people who aim to act the age and not the character always come across unreal. I share this feeling. 
After my reading and an ‘on the spot’ movement improvisation that focused on the theme of the show, I was offered the part and invited into the family! 
The show will be performed on Friday, the 9th of September in the Atrium Theatre, Cardiff at 7pm.

Monday, 1 August 2011

A QUICK NOTE ON AUDITIONING

So I have an audition coming up and thought I’d share knowledge given to me by various people. (I shall let you know if it worked once I’ve gotten the job)
  1. Enjoy it.
  2. Make decisions and commit to them.
  3. Don’t focus on why you need the job or anything else than what you are doing in that room at that time. Live in the moment.
  4. Forget about it. If you are not toooo worked up about getting the job (this does not mean don’t be passionate about the role!) then you can just concentrate on what you are doing. Once you have done your best, release it and the universe will take care of the rest.
I am still learning how to master auditions and my nerves and hopefully these 4 things will help me do that!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sunday, 24 July 2011

WHY MUST I BE SO BLACK AND BLUE?

On the 7th of July, Why Must I Be So Black and Blue took to the stage at Chapter Arts Centre! It was amazing! 
The show combined choreography from 2 of Sam Boardman-Jacobs previous shows, Street of Crocodiles and the Pain show. The thing I loved about this process was discovering how the same choreography from a show I had done only 2 weeks prior, could feel so different once a new narrative had been found. I found it fascinating the ways we could make material feel new and fresh and deliver a totally different story. Where in Street Of Crocodiles my narratives were found in relation to Bruno Schulz and his mother and my part to play in his story as well as the bigger picture of what was going on in the Second World War. This time my narrative related to people within the more recent sieges of Sarajevo and other turmoil going on in the world at this time, with regards to Greece especially. The idea of this narrative was “A Body in Pain is like a City under Siege”. We thought not only about specific incidents of the past but also what leaders are putting their people through today, which drew me to creating my narrative based around the hideous events that are happening in Zimbabwe!
The whole piece felt new. The dynamics of the ensemble we had this time was completely different than in Street of Crocodiles. Going from 20 performers to just 8 brought the whole scale of the thing to a different level. It seemed more personal and closer but the energy that radiated on stage during the rehearsals and performances was stronger than ever! The relationships I formed with that brilliant group of performers was incredible. Artistically, creatively, socially, we all found a bond that (eventually) we were able to bring to the stage for the performance. We, narratively and performatively, got each other through the events of the show which to me was a stronger connection then when there were 20 of us. 
The final night was hard. We had all worked so hard for the last three nights and maybe something was last on the way. At one point during the performance I thought to myself, “Where’s the connection? We don’t seem to have it tonight…”. I felt as though it was probably my worst night. The feedback was incredible. I was told I was at my best. I realised that while I was performing I was not trying to be the best I could be. I was not trying to perform well, I just got lost in it, and so when I came off stage I felt as though I hadn’t done enough. In fact, I had mastered exactly what Sam had been asking of me the whole time - Just live in the moment. Discover new things. Just be. That is a sensation I will hold with me for the rest of my life.