Saturday, 11 August 2012

All at sea

I have an audition on Monday for a part in Jim Cartwright's Bed. It's an intriguing piece about seven old people in a vast bed, allegorical, metaphorical, amusing and sad. I'm up for the part of the Captain, whose big speech is narrating a scene where he's caught in a storm at sea.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? But the more I revise the speech, the more difficult it appears. Firstly, there's the voice and accent. I have to sound old, but loud enough to carry. Do I go English and weak (in character) or Scottish and strong (ditto)? How do I avoid a monotone or a routine crescendo? Bring life to such lines as "There's a dead dog on the deck spinning around and around in the skud"? When I read the lines (no time to learn them) in the privacy of my living-room, I sound fake, strained. The contrasts in mood do not come across. Instead I sound like the hammiest of actors.

The only light I can see is the fact that I often (unfortunately not always) do better in front of others than on my own. An audience somehow gives life to my character. In the meantime I'll spend the next 48 hours going over the lines, strengthening my voice, trying different paces and emotions. You never know, it might just bring the Captain to life.

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