I want to start off by saying that I feel as if I should be on summer vacation! I can’t believe that everyone is pretty much off school and I have two more months to go. That being said I am happy that I have two more months with an extremely talented bunch of individuals. I know I keep saying that I’m ready to return home, but I truly don’t know how I’m going to feel once I leave. How am I going to integrate back into what I thought to be my normal life: taking four or five classes a week rather than nineteen?
However, back to the mountain that is Mountview. This term is way more challenging than I expected. The amount of energy and physical activity that we’re required to exert feels ten times more tiring than the killer fifty minute body conditioning classes. There are truly times when my body is shaking so bad from pushing through the pain that I feel as if I am going to vomit or pass out.
This past Friday we did a workout/ jazz class in which we learned a routine that is along the lines of dance fighting. To start the class off the instructor told a story of a rival school that is extremely disciplined and the instructors are basically horrible to the students. One instructor who taught at the school would hold a cigarette under the dancers’ legs to make sure they didn’t drop the position. So the rival school instills fear to get their finished product. Apparently, the dancers are incredible due to this discipline; however, for me, this technique doesn’t make me want to push though a routine. I find it unnecessary.
Our teacher went on to tell us that we need to push ourselves more and not continue to be lazy. We have to feel the burn and keep going. I, on the other hand, don’t like the burn when it feels as if my stomach muscles are ripping and I wake up the next morning and it hurts to breathe because my ribs are in agony. Normally, I am all for an intense workout; however, my body dying in the process makes the workout null and void. I know that it will make me stronger in the end, but maybe I’m not as fit as I thought.
Anyway, we continued onto the routine, which demanded three to four times the energy and aggression. As cool as the teacher looked performing it, I didn’t have any energy to do so. With no windows open and the thick air, I was drenched with sweat and found it difficult to breathe. I couldn’t wear my shirt for two hours due to all the water I perspired. I know it sounds as if I’m complaining but I’m just saying. Overall, I need to build up my stamina.
Last week I had one of the hardest dance instructors. She’s known to be a drill sergeant with no room for error. Still, she’s one of the best dancers I think I’ve seen at Mountview. I loved her class in which we learned the Hand Jive from Grease.
In the beginning, we started with her notorious warm up that everyone in Mountview tells me about. It was only the second time I’ve had her so I don’t remember how the whole thing goes. It was funny because I kept going into my pleeay and then flat back and looking around to see if I was doing it correctly. When we moved onto the actual routine I could tell she wasn’t pleased with me because I kept messing up a part of the dance and I had kind of learned it the week beforehand.
Still, I managed to get it down through practice. The fact is that the dance is all about hand and foot coordination. Also every thing is going twice the speed with random pauses on certain counts. Thus, my legs were stopping, in a funky position, on count 6 and my hands were still moving. The next challenge was to perform it. Once I got the coordination down I was loving life! I mean I would love to be Sandy in Grease one day.
In addition, I didn’t even think the teacher knew my name and she gave me a complement in front of the class. Needless to say I was happy because finally I felt as if I was doing something right. Since this was a mock audition I felt confident I could get this job in real life. Performance is a huge aspect of getting the job and let’s just say I may not remember all the moves but with a huge smile on my face and a bit of energy maybe I’ll do well.
When it comes to my other classes, right now the work and memorization are piling up. In addition, we have a music theory exam that I’m not looking forward to because I won’t get credit for it. On the other hand, my ability to read music has improved since I’ve been here. I’m always looking for a positive!
In my Acting Through Song class we were split into partners and told to pick any song we wanted to perform. My friend Holly and I picked When You Believe from Prince of Egypt. Since our teacher always encourages us to be first rate and not a second rate famous person, we are planning to put a whole new spin on the song. I can’t wait for us to put the finishing touches on it.
In my Acting class we are performing group scene; mine is from Abigail’s Party in which I play Angela. She is a quirky, lower class married woman with an extreme urge to help people, being that she is a nurse. My challenge is to create something new for her because since I watched the movie I started using the character choices the original actress made. But I had to strip that away and naturally make the character my own.
Initially when we put the scene on its feet the instructor grilled us. He asked over a dozen of questions about the set, character, relationships—you name it, he probably asked it. Coming into the class we were under the assumption that we were going to do a read through. As a group, we had never looked at the script together before. Also, all of our scripts weren’t the same because we got them from different books. The experience completely caught us off guard and we noticed that we had some homework to do before our next run.
The one class that is truly inspiring me lately is Acting for Camera. I can’t express how much I love it. For anybody that doesn’t know I used to do television and film when I was in middle school. I wanted nothing more than to be in a sitcom or major movie. I randomly stumbled onto theatre through a teacher of mine. As much as I love performing on the live stage there is some exhilaration of doing TV. In addition, I find that live performance is harder due to the fact I had no training in certain disciplines. Also, often time it works to one’s advantage if they are a triple threat.
However, lately I’ve been struggling when it comes to acting because it used to come so easily to me. Now every time I’m in rehearsal I feel as if I’m trying to act. My instructor in my camera class told us that the best acting comes from performers that put themselves into the world of the character rather than separating the character from the actor. It’s as if I would have been in the situation. The actor is giving a part of themselves, their experiences, their reactions because the truth is that no one in the world will be me, react like me or speak like me. That is what makes me unique. Ultimately it will make my view of the character’s world different.
Thus, instead of trying to build up all these outward character aspects I should work from the inside. I hope I explained this correctly because in my head it makes perfect sense. Still, I really want to get back to the camera even though I swear that it gave me the biggest bags under my eyes that I have ever seen as well as sizably enlarging my head. That was just my perspective. J
Company is coming along quite well! It’s taking a lot of morning practices and long rehearsals but it’s getting there. Everything requires a ton of focus and concentration because the second you don’t, you make the group look messy. Thus I am spending many hours out of the day going over music, lines and routines. The show is the 23rd of May and our first stage through is this coming Friday. I have to admit I’m a little nervous because I’m not sure I’ve got my character figured out but hey, I don’t want to force it. It will click in due time.
Funny thing that happened in rehearsal was that I originally had the introduction to Not Getting Married. This is the operatic bit at the beginning and middle. For anyone who doesn’t know, at Lafayette for my Musical Theatre class I got to perform the patter part of the song, which I loved, so naturally when Company was given to us as a musical I wanted that role. My friend got it and she’s amazing at it because her comic timing is incredible. When it came to the song I had talked to another cast member about taking it just in case. Well the day finally came on Friday and all I wanted to do was jump for JOY! The director asked the musical director if my friend could do it.
Now I guess this would technically be the moment where I was supposed to be upset that my song got taken away from me; however, I couldn’t have felt more blessed. At first, the MD and everyone in the room seemed really tense but when they saw me roll it off because I was COMPLETELY fine with it they calmed down. I even asked the MD if he was okay with it because I was but I didn’t think he believed me the first couple of times, haha. So yes life is amazing and I am loving it!
This weekend I visited my mom in Cambridge. It was a long day but way worth it because we got picked up in a company car and then stayed at the Crown Plaza. It was beautiful! If that wasn’t enough, we also had amazing weather. Now, nobody told me that the university is all around and that there are probably a dozen colleges in the area. Us being us, we always decide to experience the city by walking around and not researching it beforehand. Therefore, we walked to Cambridge University Botanical Gardens in hopes of finding a huge Cambridge University landmark. Turns out, our hotel was near it; we just needed to walk in a different direction. The bartender had a good laugh at our expense.
Still, we had an amazing time and today we went punting. Which is not kicking an American football. It’s basically a Gondola ride with the history of the city. Our guide was too funny and dangerous as he almost ran over baby chicks in the water and the mama goose attacked me. It was an experience I will never forget.
So yes, today is the 14th of May and this marks the two months that I have left in London. But it’s time for me to run to rehearsal! So until next time!