As it played such a big part in my recent career, I feel it is only necessary to write a post about my first major step in the industry, the reason for Why Must I Be So Black and Blue. As my final project of my degree, I was cast in dance theatre piece, Street of Crocodiles by founder of Found Reality theatre company, Sam Boardman-Jacobs. Performed in the Atrium in Cardiff on the 27th-29th of May, Street of Crocodiles was one of the biggest learning stepping stones of my career.
Based on the novel by Bruno Schultz, the piece dealt with issues of the holocaust and consumerism while following the tales of Schultz’ childhood. Cast as Bruno’s mother, my role demanded techniques I had very little practice in. The last character work I had approached was within my module Method Acting using the techniques of Lee Strasberg. This style of theatre, however, asks the actor to be herself and focus on their own individual responses and reactions to the situations their ‘character’ are put in. Throughout the last year leading up to this I had very much focused on Autobiographical theatre which meant I was a little practiced in listening to my own impulses to create choreography, but this took my impulse learning and psycho-physical training to a whole new level. With the knowledge of the character and how she may have reacted influenced my response which was a fresh way to approach work.
Because of all these changes, my learning process demanded a fully open mind as I truly threw myself into the process of making and performing the show. I learnt key things that will always aid me in my career. These were:
Awareness of your other performers and yourself
Listen to your impulses
Be open to discovering something new. Trust your body! You have the freedom to change.
Never let the energy drop! EVER! It is the key to keeping the audience involved. As soon as you drop, even for a second, the narrative is broken.
Connect with all your muscles and every part of you internally as well as connect with everything around you.
REACT TO EVERYTHING! MEYERHOLD SAYS NEVER IGNOR ANYTHING. IF YOU DO WE KNOW THIS IS NOT REAL.
With all of these in mind, I found that to be conscious about everything stated meant that when it came to opening night, I was not nervous. With everything else I had done, before I really had focused on any of the aspects listed above, I would always be so nervous I would forget lines or choreography or scene lists, but now I felt completely confident. With these aspects mastered, I figure a performer is able to give a different performance every night (which was highly asked of us in this performance) and the ensemble’s awareness would nurture these discoveries instead of everyone panicking like I have experienced many times in the past.
My complete commitment and spirit in this process and the final product landed me with my first professional role as a graduate in Found Reality’s next production, Why Must I be So Black and Blue, my first major step into the working world of an actor.
Since I was a very young girl, I have always wanted to be in the arts. Creating was something my parents encouraged as they were within that world already themselves. Graduating from University of Glamorgan with a BA in Drama, I am ready to enter into this world.
Acting has been my passion. It is the way I live. My life is a film and I am the star. I find I cannot help but to create little scenes wherever I am. To dramatise how I say things for dramatic effect.
This little habit of mine is what influenced me to become a writer. Writing is, for lack of a better cliche, my release. My mind works in words and images, which is why I write films mostly. The ability to just create a world that no one can determine as wrong or faltered, as everything is subjective. The freedom to choose who we are, where we come from, what worlds we live in, who we love, the tasks to show the impossible being realised and overcome. To write stories about the world, draw awarness, say what you have to say. Say what you have to say. That is the major thing to me. Whether it is about a fictional idea, a fantasy, opening eyes to something political, or even not political. All of it makes for art. Say what you have to say. The audience will read it how they like, but at least you will have been heard for something.
The complete idea of creating is why I also became a film director. I like to have control over my vision that I wrote. If I have put it on the page, it means I have already seen how it is done in my head. However, I am learning, each day until I die. I like to workshop with my team, have plenty of discussions about the film, and also workshop with my actors. I want them to create what is true to them and their discoveries. If they are ‘faking it’ it shows immediately, and that’s not really what I want. I feel that every single person within their own profession has their own right for new discoveries and participation. I love new ideas and seeing things with different eyes.
I have made quite a bit of work where there is a true sense of ensemble creation, especially in the theatre that I do. It is totally reviving to work in an environment where the group is so connected that through improvisational work and choreographed, the energy is the same, the radiation that feeds into each other is atomic. This collaborational process allows for each performer to be themselves and a group. We adapt what we know within the situations we have devised.
Creating anything, any part of the process, be it acting, devising, directing, being directed, writing, anything, is just the most wonderful thing I have in my life. It means I can incorporate everything I love, my family, my friends, my ideals, and have them with me in what ever I do and have the freedom to grow with them. I love this industry and want it to be a part of me until I take my last breath.