Workshop Blog

Shakespeare Workshop (Preparation for Julius Caesar) – Sean Gaffney and Rob Steele

20th February

Thoroughly enjoyable evening, trying out different ways to deliver Shakespearean language, working with scripts, improvising scenes using various emotions and traits, such as jealousy, anger, deceit and vanity. Finally, looking at how crowds switch to a pack mentality and putting into practice in a couple of improvised scenes.

The improvised office scenes, where an individual spread rumours to each person in the room, was fascinating as we watched different people react to the news. Some very good and thoughtful acting.

The speech work was interesting as we listened to a wide variety of deliveries of the same speech come alive in different yet equally effective ways. These were created by firstly changing direction whilst walking on each punctuation mark, then stressing different words of each line “To BE or not to be” and “To be or NOT to be” etc

Finally we had a couple of short improvised scenes based on emotions, first prize had to be Frank/Saoirse/Peter/Oliver’s “Backstabbing” of Sean and I (very topical)

Rob Steele

Playing the Crowd – Frank Kennedy

13th February

In this week’s workshop, Playing The Crowd, we looked at how a group of supporting actors – or in larger projects, extras – can add atmosphere and focus to a scene.

Using some dramatic moments from the work of Dickens, I found myself fascinated at times by simply “watching the watchers”. Simple, perhaps, but effective.

Teamwork obviously at the heart of it, and everyone contributed, adding intensity to the fun and interest.. As is so often the case, while concentrating on one idea or technique, other things got noticed , so for instance we worked a bit on spacing, timing and vocal economy…

Frank Kennedy

Me, Myself, You and I / You, Yourself, Me and You – Donna Day

30th January and 6th February

These were two workshops based around awareness – developing self awareness as an actor, awareness of other actors you are working with and awareness of your character leading to a fuller more rounded performance.

The first week focused on self awareness and awareness of other actors so we got to know each other through some silly games moved onto reading monologues with another actor on stage staying silent and reacting to what we were saying.  This helps people to stay in character when other people have long speeches so they’re not just standing on stage looking bored!

The second week focused on getting to know your character through various techniques.  Everyone chose a character they know well and introduced them to the group.  Then in small groups we went through a version of the Actor’s Questions and found out some interesting facts about the people in the room.  This led to all of the characters participating in some very random versions of Blind Date.

Both sessions ended with some bizarre and surreal improv.  I will never read Shakespeare’s Richard II in the same light again.

Thanks to everyone who came along and made it a fun two nights.  I hope people found it useful and will be able to use some of the techniques when performing in the future.

Donna Day

Jurassic Jagger world – Ian Cai Mercer

The format of the workshop followed the template established by Mark Freeman for the Jagger Street tales from over a year or so ago. I outlined seven scenes, organised people into groups to improvise and perform each scene

The storyline was about Voldemort Jagger, the last of the Jagger line going back in time to change the past, aka- Back to the Future, then accidentally going back to the age of the Dinosaurs. Then it got a bit more surreal with Raptors, T-Rex and Dinosaur-like people in the mix!

Thanks to everyone for making it an interesting night!

Ian Cai Mercer