(This blog post began life as part of the Tower Theatre Company newsletter and was first published in late February 2015)
The audition process took place on the Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon and the whole of Sunday we were treated to three fabulous workshops run by professionals as part of the RSC’s outreach work with amateur theatres across the country. We had already been assured that the workshops were not intended to feed into the auditions so having gone in the first tranche we were at no disadvantage. Rather they were general workshops intended to provoke thought and improve technique. We spent our time with the other two drama groups who had auditioned in the first tranche and who came from Barnes and Dulwich, making us a group of 21 in all.
First up was Voice and Text with Michael Corbidge. I assumed that this would be the most sedate of the three workshops but not a bit of it. We spent the whole time on our feet and it involved quite a lot of movement. During the course of the session we picked apart several of Puck’s speeches concentrating not on meaning (again as I had wrongly supposed) but thinking of sound and delivery. We examined why the lines were constructed as they were and the importance of the first and last words of the lines. We spoke individually and chorally with various levels and degrees of emotion. Michael kept us hard at it but was a highly effective teacher with a wicked sense of humour.
On Sunday morning, and to the distant sounds of St Paul’s, we attended the Acting workshop with the wonderful Annie Tyson. She really invigorated us when I’m sure we’d far rather have been having a lie in with the Sunday papers. Lots of improvisation exercises culminated in us working on very short (six lines) pieces of text which we had to work up into a specific scene. These ranged from the comic potential of a disgruntled estate agent selling a house to the horrors discovered by three soldiers liberating Auschwitz – plenty of food for thought. This particular workshop just whizzed by; I, for one, could have stayed all day.
Finally after a light lunch (well, for some of us) it was time for Movement with the very encouraging Gary Sefton. We’d already heard alarming noises coming from that particular workshop and there were several people in other groups reporting scrapes and bruises so we went into this with some trepidation. Apart from nearly losing my trousers at one point (it’s a long story …) I suffered no damage though I’ll never forget Tom thanking someone for catching him during a chasing game and thus removing the need for him to charge around the room any further. It will also be a long time before I forget the sight of Adam’s watch breaking spectacularly as he tried to rescue the love of his life and their baby from a rapidly flooding dungeon (again, long story).
Soon it was 5.30 and all participants gathered to bid a fond farewell to two days of intense but exhilarating work. The long wait for the audition results could begin…..