This week we started with a simple game intended to show us the importance of not drawing attention to a mistake on stage. It started with everyone standing in a circle with one person holding a small ball. Then they had to make eye contact and say the name of the person they wanted to throw the ball to, then throw it to that person.
We weren’t allowed to throw it to the same person twice until everyone in the circle had caught the ball, and once a cycle was complete it started over again. The ball was dropped a few times as it was small and not that easy to catch.
Our tutor used this to point out that on stage mistakes can happen and the best thing to do is to carry on as if nothing is out of the ordinary.
If it’s just a small mistake and you make it obvious by drawing attention to it then the entire audience will notice but if you just carry on, most of the time no one is any the wiser.
After a few cycles a second ball was added and while there were still a few mistakes, everyone carried on as if nothing had happened. The exercise was about focusing on the part you played in the cycle and nothing else.
For the remainder of the class we worked on the scenes we have to perform at the end of the course with our scene partners, while the tutor provided blocking to the scenes.
Blocking, as I mentioned last week, is about showing people where they should be standing on stage during a scene. We then talked about the objective our characters have in the scene and if it would change during the scene.
All the beats, which are different markers present in all scenes, had to be identified also. Everyone was also encouraged to give their scene partners feedback about each other’s characters.
It helps a lot to know how you want to play your character and the input you get from your partners can be very valuable when figuring out how your character is seen by others.
My scene didn’t receive any blocking this week because there are seven scenes in total in the class and it takes about twenty to thirty minutes for the tutor to complete the blocking. There wasn’t enough time to do all of them, but the rest will be completed next week.
This week was more about working with others, which is big part of drama, and being able to take others’ opinions and give some of your own to bring out the best in each other.
This week our tutor finished providing the blocking, showing us our positions on stage, for the last few scenes who hadn’t received it the previous week. Before that though. we started the class with some breathing exercises and afterwards we were asked to close our eyes and to visualize our character from our scene.
We had to imagine every aspect of them, how they stand, how they would dress, how they are feeling at the time the scene is taking place and what age we thought they were. After a few minutes of doing this we had to take all the characteristics we saw and to become that character as we walked around the room.
Our tutor then asked us to move around like our character was in a hurry and then asked us to freeze, and to act out our character leaving a phone message to someone they loved, it could be anyone from a family member to a good friend. Reading the play that our scenes are from helped us get inspiration for who they might have been ringing. We then had to act out certain situations as our character, such as returning a faulty item to a shop and trying to get it returned or repaired.
These exercises helped us see our characters outside of the play, and helped us take on board who they actually are and how they would react in different situations, not just what is written for them in the play. Our tutor then moved on to give us our blocking.
She first asked us to perform the scene as we imagined it. Then she took us through it again and stopped us to get us to move to where we were supposed to be on stage at certain points throughout the scene.
We were also give some direction about how are character should be feeling at certain points too. After getting these we had time to rehearse the scene with our scene partners.
When we were doing the rehearsals, it became clear that the blocking also helped us remember our lines. This is because we instantly associated different lines during the scene with a position given to us during the blocking.
This was something that was mentioned earlier in the course but you can really see it come in to play during the rehearsals. This was another good class with a lot information to take from it
Inspired by Paddy’s experience so far? Page to Stage is a follow on course which you can subscribe to on completion of Introduction to Drama so why not sign up to one of an Introduction to Drama at The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland today! We run ‘Intro’ classes 4 nights a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays. Pick the day that suits you best andsign up here! We advise people to book early to secure their preferred day. Other Adult Short Courses running in Term 3 from April include Acting for Camera, Stand Up Comedy, Long Form Improv, TV Presentation and Radio Presentation and many more follow on courses….