some photos from a recent language and skiing trip to Sapporo and Niseko.
Sunday, 17 April 2016
I hadn't heard anything about Larry Moss or his acting coaching style before this event, but was really intrigued into watching his rehearsal process and how he worked with actors. It was an immensely fascinating day, and I learnt a lot about how directors can bring emotions and actions out of their actors. Larry himself was hilarious - his broad American accent and baseball cap slightly amused me, but he also had a real knack of making the audience laugh. He also has a real talent of taking an approach to a certain scene or line from a particular play, and stretching it into a more broad concept to follow when working on any text.
He focused on the importance of breath control, knowing and studying the text, slowing down and focusing everything on the other actor in the scene (they were all duologues), which I thought were all vital aspects of rehearsing a text. His dedication to an actor's entire body was really important to understand for the actors working with him, including detailed work on the voice. I also loved his work on really understanding and knowing the text you're working on - including the setting and nationality of the work, and treating the words like poetry. He emphasized the fact that the writer is everything, and they have given you all the tools to deliver the scene truthfully if you really listen to them.
I was a bit overwhelmed at times, because once the actors were invested in the scene, there were a lot of emotional moments including crying and not being able to continue the scene. I'd never seen something like that happen in a rehearsal, and I was shocked by how much these actors were dedicated to their craft. Larry made the actors really in touch with their emotions, and to imagine situations like the ones their characters were in. I saw the development of the actors as the scenes progressed, and I think it was down to those simple factors mentioned earlier. Every actor had such a beautiful relationship with their scene partner and were definitely changed by the end of their rehearsal with him.
There were 8 scenes altogether taken from 8 plays, each was rehearsed for about an hour with Larry and then moved on to the next. I loved most of the scenes a lot, especially the ones set in Ireland (Outside Mullinger and The Lonesome West), as they were entirely about Ireland, the connection to land and a great example of how much work you have to do on a script to perform it truthfully. Stupid Fucking Bird was another favourite (the script was so well done), Laughing Wild was incredibly hilarious but also poignant and The Effect was really unexpected and different, but really interesting. I really want to read the plays and see them performed again.
This was the set up for The Lonesome West, and the use of the stage in this scene to create tension, humour and violence was brilliant. We were seated inside quite a small room, and there was plenty of audience engagement with Larry and the actors so the intimate environment was perfect. Overall I really enjoyed the day and you can watch this video to see a glimpse of who Larry is. His tips really helped me view my acting from a more human perspective, and I think it was a really valuable experience.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Louis is a failed novelist, which wouldn't be the case if he'd stop messing with tense and obscuring the narrative. He was a theatre reviewer, and he'd still be doing that if a black box hadn't been invented that runs on an algorithm having it write perfect reviews. His girlfriend would still be around if he'd stopped taking her to plays were directors wrecked simple stories, and he'd be sitting in his home right now if he hadn't worn out his welcome at this parent's investment property. One thing Louis does have is grit; he ain't gonna let no thing or no body bring him down. But sometimes art happens, and when it does...two words...pens and eyes. Pens. Eyes.
First of all the venue -- the Old Fitz is an old pub in the backstreets of Wooloomooloo, Sydney. It doesn't look like a very exciting area when you're walking around it, so when I saw the Old Fitz sign on the end of the street I thought it might be a pretty daggy place. I was so wrong. A friend of mine and I walked into a really groovy bar with lots of funky actors and sydney-siders enjoying a beer from the nice Irish guy working behind the bar. The place struck me immediately as hyper-cool and not trying to be anything it wasn't. We went upstairs to grab the tickets and then headed downstairs below the bar into the tiny theatre. I immediately loved the atmosphere, everyone cramped into a tiny theatre, with low lighting, tiered seating and cushions on the stairs if you didn't manage to get a seat. It's my idea of a perfect theatre venue. The audience is so close to the tiny stage that you really feel connected to the drama and the actors no matter where you are sitting. Now onto the play.
I thought it was pretty fucking hilarious. I had no idea what is was going to be like when I booked the tickets, but was immediately hooked from the first scene. All of the actors were immensely comfortable in their characters and the comic timing straight off the bat, was perfect. The small scenes from different times in the characters lives were both funny and poignant, and although at times the play border lined surreal, there was always a real human connection that the audience felt with the story. There were some very weird and unexpected twists - what started out as 'normal' play then continued to include comic deaths and surreal events. But what I found most funny wasn't these surreal events, but the witty banter between the characters. I was almost crying with laughter at certain points, and the audience could tell that the actors themselves were cracking a smile during their scenes. It was a really clever production, with smart sets and dialogue that always kept you guessing as to what came next. Some of the acting at times wasn't wholly realistic, but I think when you work with a play that doesn't fit into a specific genre, it can be really difficult. It was the kind of play that reminded me how much I love acting and how exciting it would be to be in a production like that.
Unfortunately, last night was the play's last performance - but I'm definitely going back to the old Fitz soon for another play!