Moving on Again!

KTS 2014

KTS 2014

Knight-Thompson Speechworks training was Intense, with an intentional Capital I. Three weeks of immersion in the mechanics of speech and accents was thrilling, exhausting and deeply satisfying.  I was surrounded by enormously talented individuals, all with unique styles of delivery when it comes to teaching and coaching, so there was as much to learn from my fellow students as there was from the teachers. I also managed to fit in private coaching sessions with Joan Melton (One Voice), and Marya Lowry.  Boy oh boy did my voice get a workout to die for!!! I am now moving on to stay with friends in New Jersey for the next three weeks, where I will be head down-tail up writing and rehearsing, developing my new solo performance.

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getting some personal tuition from Ricky the Dialect Dog

Good-bye New York. It has been a total blast.

Moving On

Two weeks in Seattle with the family are almost over. It’s been wonderful watching my grandson playing baseball and soccer (and having him beat me at chess), and my granddaughter colouring in with great precision and attention to shades of purple.2014-06-22 09.40.09

I’ve been able to catch up with my great friend and colleague Gin Hammond. Gin is presently developing a wonderful piece of total theatre, “Gifts of War”, for production in September. This evening we are heading – en famille – to the Safeco Stadium to watch the Mariners playing the Indians and seeing a “Gifts of War” promo splashed up on the big screen for all to see.

Tomorrow I fly to New York for a long overdue catch up with Amy Stoller and other VASTA colleagues, before embarking on the full whammy of three weeks of Knight-Thompson Speechworks training.

Oh, by the way, my thesis was approved. You may now refer to me as Dr Kennedy, although I really hope you don’t!

Travel Plans 2014

I am so excited I am almost beside myself.  If there were two of me, we would be jumping up and down and hugging each other. But since it’s just me, myself and I, we will all three of us settle down and share the news.

The actual travel dates are not yet finalised, but this is roughly my itinerary:

Brisbane to Seattle – mid-June

Downtown Seattle

Downtown Seattle

Seattle to New York – late-June-July

New York to Liverpool, UK – mid-August

Liverpool to Au Brana, France – mid-September

then back to Brisbane.

In New York, I’ll be undertaking the Knight-Thompson Teacher Certification course.  In Au Brana I’ll be training with John Britton (Duende-Ensemble) on creating solo performance.

I am also planning to get together with some amazing voice specialists for some one-on-one mentoring in a whole range of vocal techniques – spoken and sung.

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Thunder’s Mouth Theatre’s practically instant “All’s Well That End’s Well”

While I’m in the various locales, I would love to play with some local artists, and I’m cooking up a few different projects to keep me well into the mischief as I go. Check out my Workshops to get an idea of what may be possible. I’m particularly keen to do more !Extreme Shakespeare, similar to the recent “All’s Well That Ends Well” project here in Brisbane.

Click here to let me know if you’d like more details as they come in. 

Enter the Nurse

I am in the delightful position right now of playing one of Shakespeare’s great roles, the nurse in Romeo & Juliet.  Strictly speaking, I’m probably too old for her. After all, she had a baby the same age as Juliet, just under fourteen years ago, and my child-bearing years ended quite some time before that.

street brawl

David Scaroni (Tybalt), Eamonn Clohesy (Mercutio), Sam Valentine (Romeo) and Nicholas Sinclair (Benvolio)

Romeo & Juliet

Georgia Spark (Juliet) and Sam Valentine (Romeo)

Vanja Matula (Lord Capulet) and Flloyd Kennedy (nurse)

Vanja Matula (Lord Capulet) and Flloyd Kennedy (nurse)

But that’s the beauty of theatre, it’s all about illusion, perception, and expectation. I make no effort to create the illusion that I am younger than I am (apart from using a very expensive foundation that was a birthday gift!): I aim to create the illusion that I work for the Capulet family as Juliet’s chief care-giver, and trust that the audience will perceive me as such.   Then it becomes imperative to exceed their expectations.

The great joy of being able to speak Shakespeare’s language is complemented by the adventure of working with a very exciting young company.  Timothy Wynn and Cassandra Ramsey have created a genuinely local, community-based theatre which is deeply professional at its heart. For three years they have engaged a mixture of old and young, experienced and untrained theatre artists to present a range of classic and contemporary texts to the Ipswich community. THAT Production Company is a brave adventure, a generous extension to the local cultural scene, driven by its directors’ passion to provide powerfully entertaining theatre that is relevant and inspiring to its participants as well as to its audiences.

For Romeo + Juliet we have a cast of fourteen performers, aged 16 to I’m Not Telling You, but I can assure you I am the oldest.  Some have a lot of onstage experience, some have very little. Some bring a wealth of experience with Shakespeare, others are from the musical theatre scene. Some are still at school, others are relatively recent graduates from school or college. Our director Tim and producer Cassie have worked tirelessly to treat us all AS professional artists – in other words, as artists who profess THEATRE. (I know there is a separate debate currently in the Queensland theatre community about what constitutes ‘professional’ theatre, and I’m not going to elaborate on that here).

the ball

The Ball

We had a shaky start to our season at Studio 188.  It was a shock to my aged system to discover that this newly renovated church building, custom designed as a studio theatre, owned and managed by the Ipswich Civic Centre, has no bathroom facilities for the artists who work there. The cost of hiring the venue – even for THAT Production Company, which has been named “Company in residence at the Studio 188″-  is so prohibitive that our time preparing in the space was necessarily limited. We also had more than our fair share of illness and unrelated crises among the company members during the rehearsal period, but hey – that’s how it goes.

We are now confidently entering our second, and final week of performances. From tonight (6th May) until Saturday 10th May, at 7.30pm we will share our version, and Tim’s vision, of this well-loved play.  The venue only seats 48, so it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance.

in the tomb

You may have seen it before. You may have studied it at school. You may even have performed in it.  Whatever your experience of the story of these “star-crossed lovers”, I can assure you there is always something new to discover. That’s the magic of Shakespeare’s rich text, and the beauty of live performance.

Play=Peace + Voice!

Mary Alice Long, of Play=Peace (based in Seattle) has just interviewed me via Skype for her series Playmatters! We had a great chat about warming up the voice, gurning, learning to know your voice from the inside, and sharing it with the world.

Also available here on Vimeo.