Brief Encounter with an Archetype

‘I enjoyed your workshop yesterday very much. It felt a bit like Commedia del Arte without masks and without having to keep to your character’s stereotype. Using text with these archetypes was a great exercise towards “truthfulness” of the lines. As an actor I want to be flexible and open for new things when I work on a character and going through the different archetypes with the text allows me to train that flexibility and openness I want to achieve.’ Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of introducing a small group of 3rd year students to the process and concept of working with Archetypes.  I volunteered to give a free workshop, and they chose to show up of their own …

Playing comedy – for real

A young actor remarked to me the other day “when you play comedy, you can’t be real.”  My response was a heartfelt denial. Broadway actress, Andrea Martin, 5 times nominated and 2 times winner of a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, says in today’s New York Times, that “comedy comes from dedication to a role, rather than angling for laughs.  ‘To go into something thinking, How am I gonna get a laugh?  Is really disastrous in a play’”. Her current co-star, Tracee  Chimo, agrees: “You want the audience to laugh, and you want them to enjoy themselves, but you can’t ask for it – it’s a funky balance,” she said, “like walking this beautiful tightrope. You just …

4 Elements of a Great Group Warm up

Yes, I know I’ve written on this topic before, and I promise you I certainly will again, because there is always more to be discovered about the benefits of a warmup up. Specifically, today I want to discuss the reasons why a performance group should always warm up together. The Group Warmup. Anyone who has ever experienced a bad group warmup will want to escape now. Please don’t. Please stick around. Warm ups are like meals. A tough, over-cooked (or soggy under-cooked) one can put you off forever, because it leaves you with nothing but a bad taste and spoils your appetite for the rest of the day. A delicious, tasty, nutritious one leaves you satisfied and enthusiastic to face whatever the day …

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 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 …

Preparing for a Vocal Marathon – Part I

Today I was working on Skype with a new client, who asked me for exercises to help her cope with the challenge of a 28 minute narration (voice over). This is a long time for an untrained voice to sustain colour, flexibility and ease. Small wonder she finds herself stumbling over long words and complex phrases. It is not normal to speak to 28 minutes without rest. This is a vocal marathon. The voice, like any other part of the human anatomy, requires muscles to move it, shape it, colour it, empower it. The voice might take the form of sound waves, invisible to the eye. It might seem to be as easy as breathing – and that’s how we’d …