Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Mid-Term Assessment overview for reference

My upcoming mid-term assessment shall be this Thursday, some reflective thoughts I have been asked to question I thought might be helpful to put here as an honest self-assessment. (Also it helps when you only have 15 minutes for when your mind inevitably always goes blank!)

 Professional behaviour

In terms of professional behaviour, apart from one occasion at the start of term I have been punctual, and week 5 was my absence, I have been punctual and where I need to be at the appropriate times. For rehearsal I try and get there 10 minutes early to ensure all the props and set are in place ready for cast, sometimes the cast do help which is kind. Clothing I usually stick to jeans and an appropriate jumper, I do have sturdy boots which I usually wear also, otherwise I haven’t worn heels, but have made an error once or twice of wearing a dress which whilst in meetings and rehearsal spaces it isn’t an issue, when working with the sets dresses got in the way! I think I have worked safely and ensured I  met the safety requirements when working with particular equipment, when moving set in and out of rehearsal spaces especially sometimes I have had to ask for help due to weights I cannot handle alone.


In my working method, the efficiency I have begun to regularly apply stands as arriving by 10am (this may not be as early as possible but it works with the free bus that is provided for students) this means I am available if extra help is required with the ASM’s otherwise that gives me time to do extra work on DSM work such as blocking the script. For the rehearsal at 1pm, I ensure I am there 10 minutes early to get in the props and set and ask for help if necessary rather than taking up valuable rehearsing time. Now that the meetings are sorted at consistently being at 4pm, I leave at 3:50 to ensure I am prompt and ready for the meeting to take notes and update with the rest of the crew. After the rehearsal I go straight through to the rehearsal space and clear up ensuring everything is as it was left (clean and tidy) and everything is back in its place for when people need to use it next. Over the weeks I have gotten into the habit of typing the rehearsal notes and minutes that evening to send out promptly, although late, to the crew. Admittedly in the last week this did not occur and I will make a conscious effort to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

I like to consider myself as working well in a team. I have tried to assist where possible for all the crew members, the stage manager and I particularly are good at ensuring we both have everything we need and help where possible. One example of assistance was in week 8, a group of us helped with Bradley Manning to build chairs efficiently so they were done sooner.  Admittedly communication is a problem which I am working on addressing as cast don’t know all the progress and I have been unable to answer questions on props, sound and costume, which I would like to start asking crew the night before if there are any updates the cast are likely to need to know. That will be addressed this week to ensure a smoother running forward looming closer to the performance date.  

Ownership over tasks

I consider myself as positive with the tasks I do, however the blocking of the script isn’t looking as good as it can do at this point therefore I shall remain behind or spend some extra time outside of Thursdays to ensure it is done to a better standard for cast and crew to understand my notes. I am proactive in many ways, but at times I have responded after a situation has occurred so that is something to address in the coming weeks. One moment I did consider myself as being proactive responding to a situation happened in week 8;

It was after rehearsals and I was cleaning up my rehearsal space, as we were in the mirror room I had to pass through the blue room to get to the workshop to put props and set away. At this time obviously rehearsal had finished, as my meeting finishes when all other groups are packing away anyway. upon walking through the blue room a couple of times from set and prop delivering back, I noticed all the cast leaving, the DSM had left early for reasons and the space was left from rehearsal, no one taking action to clean up. With the last props to put away, I spoke to the cast with their coats on all ready to leave and offered to put it away since no one else had. They were pleased at my offering and left moments after, I then cleared their space ensuring their props were tidily away in their shed for their next rehearsal instead of going missing. This, although inconvenient to my time as I had to get home, I did without complaining and put everything away.

In terms of creativity, the only way I feel this role can truly express creativity is in rehearsal ideas putting input into my overview of scenes etc, and the blocking of the script. A few times cast and the director have used and liked the ideas I put forward which has been reassuring. For the script blocking, I have started with imaginative effect ideas however this is something that I can address to perhaps be more so, and detailed.

Technical competency

I am not one to be using tech as such, but with the equipment I have encountered so far with helping in the workshop I feel I am safe and correct in my usage. Mostly It has been the drills I have been using when building the chairs in week 8 and whilst in a big group of people we ensured we were spaced out on flat surfaces building so as to not put anyone else in harms way. For the coming weeks where I may be operating the lighting, I feel I am competent and safe to do so. 

week 5 - 8 DSM role

Week 5 of this course unfortunately due to family circumstances I could not turn up, therefore someone took over my role for a week which meant unfortunately rehearsal notes weren’t typed up.

Week 6 I was trying to find my feet again. I came in early to catch up and get up to speed having missed a week. This followed on to a meeting with Dave to catch up and then into the usual rehearsal process. I briefly helped out in the workshop but as such didn’t have much time before rehearsal. During the rehearsal I carried all the space, this week the focus was on staging and running slick scene changes.

Week 7, this week I came in early, having spent the morning starting to block the script for rehearsal purposes, especially when I am not there the director can use it to reference, I wasn’t able to get into the workshop to work on set. Rehearsal was slightly interrupted due to costume workshops at the adjoining theatre we are working with. Admittedly it was fun as I joined in with the active warm up!

Week 8 was a very busy week, turning up early, I went straight into the workshop to help Ayan with the set. Admittedly there wasn’t much I could help with but nonetheless I wanted to help. Afterwards I had to leave for lunch and then rehearsal, all the set was left in the workshop though as there was still work that needed doing and also it couldn’t fit through all the doors into the mirror room. The scenes were split up and therefore there weren’t many notes to report back. Additionally, this week in the meeting I led it as the SM was absent.

With regards to the lighting SM dropping out, if needed I shall be stepping up to make sure the show runs accordingly assisting the sound SM on the night of rehearsal. The minutes and rehearsal reports over week 6 and 7 and for the 3rd and 4th week of this course I was quick to the mark in getting them uploaded and sent round to the crew. Unfortunately, in week 8 I had other commitments over the weekend that meant I couldn’t upload until the following Monday. Having noticed my errors and the effect it has on the crew not being updated I will make a conscious effort to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Dave sent me feedback over weeks 3 and 4 which I feel I paid attention to and adhered to since receiving the notes in which I can improve.

In my opinion I have been good with timekeeping with a few late arrivals early on in the course, since then I ensured I was in even if it meant I could get on with DSM work individually and be at hand if needed, I feel this has helped as on a few occasions I have been asked to assist. For example week 6 I was called into the workshop for just under an hour before rehearsal to assist with wood cutting as it wasn’t a job to be done alone.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A new role weeks 1-3

Hey there!

The second project of making theatre is taking part in the process of bringing theatre shows to life. As the first years we have all been assigned a role for the process of the technical aspects of theatre life to help the third years prepare for their final production. My assigned role was DSM!

As Deputy Stage manager, my role mainly lies with interactions with the cast and communicating any needs to the rest of the crew whilst helping SM and ASM’s with their roles. Additionally, it is my responsibility to type up minutes from any production meetings and rehearsal reports from rehearsals I have sat through.

Due to timetable mishaps, I am unable to make the monday 1-4 rehearsal so I post reports every Thursday after attending the rehearsals, apart from the hour absence for the production meeting. Admittedly in the first few weeks, due to other commitments and being ill, I was rather late in sending the minutes round and I didn’t realise until week 3 that I was required to do a rehearsal report so that was delayed in starting until week 3.

It is currently week 4, I thought it was best to start the blog after a few weeks as it has been a fairly bumpy start trying to get into a smooth routine with everyone knowing what they were doing. There, for example, were a few job roles that were misunderstood and this led to confusions of the responsibility of each individual which thankfully these have been sorted and everyone is aware of what they have to do. Although, our lighting tech assistant has just the other day dropped out so that may be problematic but as a group I am confident we can work through it and come up with a plan to spread the role out evenly.

The second week charlotte and I were in early to start preparing the set followed by meeting the cast, although trains had run late so I was 15 minutes late instead of 15 minutes early. We couldn’t meet the cast the first week so it was merely a meeting to set things up the first week to get everyone up to scratch with how things will be set out in terms of basic set etc. second week was when things got a lot busier, before the rehearsal myself, the SM and the DSM’s gathered a few immediate hand held props for the rehearsal before we had our production meeting. For this week I wasn’t needed in rehearsal as it was just running through little scenes and I had turned up late so was told I could go home.

Week 3 was a lot busier than previous, having turned up early to be there in case I was needed, a few hours early before rehearsals and meetings begun, there was a problem with no one from our team having turned up for the set making, as well as a member dropping from the course, week 4, (as I am typing this) I had turned up by 10am in case I was needed to assist with the set. As far my services haven’t been needed. The day started for me at 12 in week 3, I had a meeting to understand how to use Freecycle to start gathering set, then a half hour break before heading straight into rehearsals.

For this weeks’ rehearsal, it was my first proper interaction with the cast so I made a point of going around the group of cast to introduce myself properly and make them aware that I am there for any needs they require. This therefore meant a lot of props and set questions to be looked into where they are having interaction with the crew. I have a feeling that the next rehearsal meeting there will be a smaller requirement of props and sound as things should start to fall into place.

Regardless of a bumpy start I am thoroughly enjoying having involvement in a show outside of acting. Whilst a busy role, it’s productive and already heavily rewarding to see a show come together the way it is. And plus, I always look forward to the biscuits in the production meeting!

Until next week J

Friday, 11 December 2015

Week 9

This week was a step forward from the rest, having taken into account everything we have learnt in the past 8 weeks, we had to step on our own 2 feet and try things without guidance as such. We were told to find a space in the room and carry out our own voice warm up. Starting with stretches I did the sun salute twice over to stretch both sides of the body evenly, I had a few glitches having been put on the spot and forgot what stretch to do next but I got there in the end.

Moving on I began to do the lazy days exercise, starting to focus on breathing to get it steady at a consistent pace, once I was happy having focused on the breath and relaxing my muscles I moved on to using my voice, starting with the ‘f’s and v’s, moving on to the hums and ‘mah’s I built up using my voice to warm up my voice efficiently. From the lazy days I went into the prayer position to repeat the voice warm up before crouching with my hands on the floor to do it one final time. After that admittedly I completely forgot what next, and as instructed afterwards, I would move on to repeat the voice arm ups to the wall and then project out into an open space.

After the warm up, going round the group we each took in turn to read aloud our speech to an audience for the first time given that our ‘performance’ is in 2 weeks. When I read aloud I was aware that I was speaking too fast, to begin with that was the nerves but towards the end of the speech particularly, it was evident that I had worked on that far less than the beginning of the speech so I know what to focus on over the next few weeks. I was told that I had good articulation and pronunciation and I could connect well with the argument presented, but I needed to slow down my pace to get the point across. Additionally, it was evident that I was less confident with the speech as a whole and I needed to be more confident with what I was saying to be able to look up and connect with my peers to get my argument across so learning the script would be beneficial for me. 

Week 8

This week was an interesting one for me. We worked on the idea of portraying your point in a creative manner and being passionate about what you’re talking about. After the usual warmups the theme for this week was ‘painting a picture.’ We were given an extract from a poem of a ship describing it in detail.

 We took ourselves off to a corner of the room and reading line by line we used our and the empty space in front of us to paint a picture in front of us. This allowed us to truly feel and be a little more passionate about what the speech was saying. We came back into the middle and read it out line by line delivering passion. We then went back in pairs, one person shut their eyes and the other took them around the painting using their voice to express the passion as well as the beauty of what they originally painted before. Having come back into the circle again, every one delivered each individual line with more clarity as if they could see it. whilst using the correct posture and having clarity in pronouncing the words, everybody’s facial expressions were more relaxed and convincing as they used facial expression to further the passion in their voices making the speech come to life and pull the listeners in. After that, the exercise was taken further, we went back and we acted out the speech putting ourselves into the action of it and using our voices to feel the emotion within the text further. For me this exercise proved to be the most useful as it allowed me to feel a different tone within each of the lines as if it was a completely different emotion than I had envisaged before. This for me helped with the preparation of my speech as I was able to transfer this over and feel some different tones within my speech that I wanted to portray. 

Week 7

Week 7 was an important lesson for me considering I struggle to slow my pace down when talking. After doing the usual warm ups of lazy days and projecting our voice in the motions of prayer, crouching, resonating your voice to the wall and the room and then mouth warm ups we looked into the idea of detail within speeches. After doing the usual warm ups, yoga, lazy days, and exercising our mouth muscles we went on to picking detail out of speech.

We started by getting into pairs and reading out parts of a speech and at the end of every sentence, the partner who was listening had to ask questions which the reader would answer by placing emphasis on that part of the speech which answers the question.

After this, another exercise that helped massively was ‘drop the bag.’ This game we all started walking around holding a bag in the ear. At the end of every full stop, we put the bag down and swapped bags. As the game continued, at every separate punctuation a new move was added in. for example, commas you had to turn on the spot, semi colons you had to stand on your tip toes before continuing.  

week 5

This week was working on mouth exercises, using the mouth and tongue correctly when talking. Once thing I was intrigued by was making yourself yawn which helped you work out the different muscles in your throat that create different sounds. When you yawn you can feel the part of your voice that makes it go deeper. When you raise your Adams apple up and down it changes the pitch and tone of your voice also. We focused on the larynx and pharynx in this lesson to study our resonance. Swallowing and moving the Adams apple that way helps you locate your larynx, and yawning helps with the pharynx location.

 I had stated before that I have a particularly high pitched voice so this lesson aided me to give me something to help bring my voice down a tone or two to come across as more professional and more convincing in giving my speech. Additionally we focused on the soft palette and the jaw, producing sounds like ‘ng’ and massaging the jaw as we talk also. The exercise that was the one most beneficial for me was one where we placed our hands on our foreheads and hummed, we moved our hands down to our nose, then mouth then chest and each time our hand moved down our voice dropped a pitch and helped see that your pitch can lower so when talking you can picture where your resonance is coming from and how to change your pitch.