The Stratford school trip
July 2, 2012
With my first blog out of the way, I can now breathe a huge sigh of relief. Thanks to all of you who've read it so far and thanks for the kind comments made via social media (likes, retweets etc). It's much-appreciated!
'I thank you. I am not of many words, but I thank you.' – Don John, Act 1 Scene 1.
So, Monday kicked off with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. We all met early in the morning at the Clapham rehearsal rooms and boarded a coach. Our names were ticked off a list and a head count was undertaken. There were packed lunches. The cool kids sat at the back. The eager ones sat at the front. I was in the middle. (This feeling of being back at school isn't going to go away, is it?)
I jest, but admittedly, this was all incredibly exciting. It was great for us to bond and gel further on the trip – after all, we ARE going to be spending the next four and a half months together. I think someone even did a little 'whoop, whoop!' upon arrival. (That was probably me). The purpose of our visit? To scope out the space (Courtyard Theatre) and get a real feel of how we'll be operating within it.
News also spread on the coach that Michael Boyd had JUST been knighted and that Vikki Heywood had been made a CBE. (Congrats to you both!) This put me in good spirits! A great day for the RSC.
Once we'd arrived, we met the Stratford office team and had lunch. (More names to remember. Still failing miserably). What struck me about the way the RSC works, is its real sense of advocacy and encouragement. An ethos of collaboration. We met people from various departments; all eager for the Much Ado company to come in and lend their expertise. If we wanna help out or chuck some ideas in the areas of costume, education, social media, design, workshops, events or anything else for that matter – then we should pop in, chat and get things moving. A 'can do' attitude.
This was also evident on the 'Welcome to the RSC' DVD that we got with our Welcome Pack. I failed to mention this last week, but – essentially – it's a 10 minute piece-to-camera and introduction to the Company by Mr Boyd, Ms Heywood and other members welcoming you in. There's also instructions of a secret RSC handshake and details of a private underground bunker. Okay, so that last sentence was a lie.
Whilst in Stratford, we all had our measurements taken for costume (probably the most rigorous, intricate and precise measurements I've ever had). We then spent some invaluable time with Struan and Lyn in the theatre. Wow, what a space! The photo I've uploaded is the sight that greets us actors when we tread those boards! Struan is very hot on this notion of actively using your body in a 360-degree way. Not just seeing, speaking, breathing and living 'front-on', but seeing/speaking/living/breathing through your back and your sides. Having a real sense of periphery and an active awareness.
Walking on onto that stage before the exercise, it felt like a vast space. Engulfing. Exciting. Intimidating. It felt like we shoulda packed a spare pair of undies(!) But after the precise work with Struan and Lyn, the theatre didn't feel as intimidating. We felt like we were 'in control' of it and had the power to really command it. And be in it.
With that finished it was time to go home. We all grabbed some snacks for the journey home, while some got a few exciting souvenirs from the RSC/WSF souvenir shop (Only me. Again. What a loser.)
Meanwhile, Ernest Ignatius (Antonio) treated us to some of his crooner-tastic singing. That man's got QUITE a set of lungs on him. And a darn good voice. We all suggest it'd be a great idea to get him doing a nice Sinatra number in an Indian accent for the show. He hesitates. Iqbal is nowhere to be seen.
So, will he? You'll have to wait and see.....
by Muzz Khan
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