It's the last week of the course and I'm not sure if I'm pleased about that or not. The upside is that I'll have more free time and that I won't be spending hours on activities that seem peripheral to my future acting career. The downside is that I may lose focus (will I really spend all that time working on my voice, getting my name out and pursuing all the opportunities I come across?) and the energy that comes from working with a group of supportive colleagues.
On Tuesday we are back to Voice - and this is the class we should have had much nearer the beginning of the course. No-one really understood the point of all the groaning and puffing that Cynthia made us do on earlier lessons, but today she has performed two miracles.
Firstly, her directing talents came to the fore when she made us perform our mini-scenes from Waiting for Godot in sequence. The play began to come alive and as a group we were acting rather than reciting words. Secondly, she took each of us in turn and, with startling accuracy, focused in on the physical sources of the weaknesses in our voices. She told Lloyd that his tension was in his legs - and Lloyd told her that he had been born with a deformed foot and that he still sometimes struggled to correct it. Brenda's problem was in the roof of her mouth - and Brenda had had a cleft palate. Sean's sibilants could be traced to thumb-sucking. Irina's strong personality was diverted into her mind and her dress rather than her body. My own fault was a laziness that let me speak from the head rather than use my body. And so on and so on.
If such comments had come early in the course, we could have used them, both in the scenes we are showing on Friday, and in our overall development. Subsequent Voice classes could have helped us resolve some of our problems through the course, instead of merely informing us near the end what our inadequacies are. Texan Jack, for example - who, it seems, on getting to know him, is less a potential axe murderer than a likable, nervous, intense young man - will probably forget what he has been told, but if he had been reminded two or three times during the course, his tense hunched body might have begun to uncurl into a confident upright figure.
Cynthia's comments had most of us paying attention. Sean, however, insisted on playing the clown. He has a good sense of humour and his comments are funny, but they detract from the focus of the class and make it more difficult for the rest of us to concentrate on what the teacher is saying. I like Sean, and he's a good companion in the pub. He has undoubted talent, but he is also unaware of or uninterested in the needs of others. In a short course it's only slightly irritating; in a longer course he'd be putting several people's backs up....
Today it's back to Singing. To get off book, I have two and half songs to learn in less than an hour. ♪ There is nothing like a dame..... ♪