by Michelle Tan
It has been more than a month since the auditions and the cast was finally chosen for the upcoming REST play – Check Please by Jonathan Rand. If you’re not familiar with Check Please, the entire play is based out of disastrous first dates, some of which you may even relate to!
Our resident director, Thomas, also introduced our second Act, Pup’s Holiday by Dana (last name), a comedy about deceit, a not-quite elaborate con and erectiestoornissen! Pup’s Holiday, however, had limited female roles and it’s almost a Battle Royale between the victorious auditionees (who are mostly female…alas). We’re almost looking forward to the bloodshed, sweat and tears (from laughter, of course!).
It was great to see everyone there. There were, as usual, loads of fun and laughter. With talented, fresh, new blood to boost!
We’ll be keeping you updated from time to time on our rehearsals with pictures to boost. Do follow us and watch this space. Oh, and if you’re looking to get involved with stage design, stage management and help out with sound and lightning, do hit us up! We could use volunteers!
Actors sometimes get caught up in their dialogue: memorizing the lines, delivering them one way or another, etc. Never forget that the majority of actual human communication comes from body language, not words! Here's three tips to help you use your body language on stage to communicate the story:
Using a 'Launch Stance'
One of the most difficult things an actor is asked to do on stage is simply to stand there, saying nothing. Suddenly, you don't know how to stand or what to do with your hands. Using a launch stance is helpful in this situation. A launch stance is a relaxed and confident pose that claims your space on the stage. Keep your arms loose, your hands unclenched, and relax your shoulders. By doing this, your body immediately says to the audience: Yes, I am someone in this play; notice me.
Lean for Power
Leaning into someone's personal space bubble is an effective nonverbal move in several situations. People lean towards each other to show interest and compassion. But this can also be used to intimidate others, and in the right setting a simple lean towards a fellow actor can convey a bullying or overpowering relationship. Used effectively, it's a great comedic tool, too.
Gaze with Purpose
It's a natural reaction to look at someone who's speaking to us. Remember this while on stage! Not looking at a fellow actor when they're speaking can show disagreement, anger, disgust, or self doubt. Use your eye contact skills to give your character real depth.
By using these three simple tools, you'll be able to convey the story without words. Your audience will understand your character and your motivations, and your cast will really bring the story to life!
Body language is crucial to an outstanding performance. As an actor, it's your job to master your space. Get to know and understand 'personal space bubbles'. These vary culture to culture and person to person, but in general there are four distinctions:
Intimate space is close enough to reach out and touch or kiss someone. We generally reserve this space for family, lovers, and very close friends. Crossing into someone's intimate space when you're not intimate with them is an aggressive move. On stage, this means that you should, in general, stand close to your character's partner or spouse. Subtle non verbal cues (i.e., touching your partner on their back or arm) is often part of this close space bubble. Use the taboo of crossing the intimate space bubble when you want to dominate, intimidate, and manipulate your fellow characters.
Personal space is the most common space bubble zone we use. You can easily reach out to shake hands with someone and the distance makes conversation easily heard. We use this space when talking to friends or colleagues. It's also a space bubble used at parties and other social gatherings. A first meeting would definitely fall into this category. Entering someone's personal space bubble is a request to talk with you.
Social space is often used with people whom you feel are not a threat but you don't really want to interact with them. Parties, networking events, and large events fall into this category. You can notice this space bubble when looking at a room filled with people. Generally, you'll see small groups emerge in the crowd. These are the social circles; people who know each other or who want to know each other. Moving into someone's social space is a request to be noticed, and is most often used when flirting.
Public space is used with total strangers, particularly when you're unsure of the outcome of the situation. This space bubble leaves enough room between you and other people to make use of your fight or flight mechanism. You have the opportunity to see the other person's entire body, their hand gestures and posture, giving you a chance to 'read' them before you interact with them. Fight scenes often begin in a public space bubble.
Knowing and making use of these space bubbles on stage will give your performance depth and a true sense of reality.
There are a number of things an actor can do to prep for rehearsals. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your rehearsal time!
Read the Play - Read the entire script, front to end. Don't focus on your character or lines, just get a feel for the overall play.
Prepare your Script - While it's easy these days to try and work with a script in digital form, it's best if you print up a copy. This way, you can take notes during each rehearsal. Take the time to run a highlighter over your dialogue lines - but don't highlight the stage directions. They're apt to be modified a bit to fit the venue you'll be in. Post-it tabs are a great tool to mark the beginning of each of your scenes so they're quick and easy to find.
Script Analysis - Think about building your character. This is a process you'll work with your director on, but the more ideas you bring to the rehearsals, the better. Understanding your character's motivations is important to bring the play to life.
Look at the Production Schedule - Make sure your personal agenda is up to date with all your meetings and commitments. Check to ensure you can make each rehearsal. If you see a scheduling problem, tell the director right away. Give your team time to change things around so everyone is present when needed.
Be early - Rehearsal time is valuable, not just for you but also for all the people working on the project. Come 10 minutes early to get your hello's out of the way so your rehearsal time is used for rehearsing, not catching up with your fellow actors.
Remove all distractions - Turn off you phone and other devices. Forget about the problem at work, or in your personal life. You are no longer you once rehearsals begin. Give yourself a little time to warm up before each rehearsal, too. It will help to focus your mind on your role.
Bring your agenda - Rehearsal scheduling can change; be ready to discuss when you're available!
Clothing - Wear loose and comfortable clothing, and shoes that don't restrict your movement.
Bring your script and analysis - It should seem obvious, but it's easy to forget your script if you head out early in the day. Remember to bring your analysis, too. As you work through the scenes, you'll have your analysis close at hand so you can easily reference it.
Pencils and erasers - Expect changes. Don't bother using a pen; you'll end up with a mess on your script. Pencils are easier!
Be ready to have fun and be open to all ideas about your character. You'll get the most out of your rehearsals!
Tonight is the last night of auditions. Don't worry; there's still time! Email REST at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know you'll be attending. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Time: 19:30.
I had an opportunity to meet the group last night. What a wonderful bunch of talented people! I'm truly excited to see so many new faces and hear everyone's backstory. The enthusiasm in the air was infectious, and I was sad to have to leave due to an early appointment - but I'm really looking forward to working on this production.
Now's the time to let us know you want to be involved. We need help backstage, too, so let us know what you'd have fun doing!
Auditions are almost here! REST is holding open auditions on Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April, 19:30. Address: Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam. Please email us at email@example.com to receive a copy of the sample text and let us know what night you'll be attending.
Every actor needs to warm up their mouth before performing. If English is your second (or third, or fourth!) language, this is especially important. Stage actors need to be very clear in their enunciation; otherwise, the story gets lost. So here's a link to 50 tongue twisters to improve your English and get you ready for Tuesday and Wednesday!
50 Tongue Twisters to Improve your English
REST has announced our upcoming production. We're doing a fast paced comedy with a flexible cast size. Auditions dates have been set as well. Tuesday 2 April and Wednesday 3 April - mark your calendars! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a time slot and receive a sample text for the audition.
Wednesday's open meeting was loads of fun. Everyone was really enthusiastic! We videoed the games and I hope to have some short cuts for you to check out soon. Also had a quick survey for everyone and it was wonderful to have some feedback from our members. I'm looking into an online survey so everyone can get involved.
Everyone expressed high interest in guest speakers and workshops. I think it's a great idea, too! Do you live in Rotterdam and have a theatre related skill you'd like to share? We want to know about it. Please contact me, Ky, at email@example.com. Tell me a bit about your experience and what your idea is. I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
And don't forget: the best way to keep updated on everything going on with REST is to follow us on Facebook. You'll be alerted every time we post or create a new event. Be sure to click the 'follow' button!
Please Note: Address correction for meeting!! Come to Burgemeester S'Jacobplein 1, Rotterdam.
As promised, here's a photo clearly marking the meeting spot for REST's open meeting this Wednesday, 13 March, 19:00. Public transport: Dijkzigt metro station (walk towards the Museumplein exit). You'll see the Hoogeschool building immediately. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone!
The Board met on the 6th and came to some decisions. We've decided on a script for autumn 2019, set audition dates, and secured a venue. Be sure to come on Wednesday evening when we'll be announcing all of this! There's lots to be excited about this year. We've chosen a script with a flexible cast size, so there's loads of parts for everyone. I'm also hoping to organize some fun activities over the summer we can all enjoy.
Remember: liking our Facebook page won't keep you up to date on all our announcements. Hit the 'Follow' button to keep posted on all the latest info for Rotterdam English Speaking Theatre! It's the easiest way to stay on top of all our activities.
If you can't make our Wednesday meeting but want to be involved, drop us a note. We'll connect with you as soon as we can and add you to our mailing list.
See you Wednesday!
Love acting? Me, too. Whether you're amateur or trained, it's good to know about the various acting techniques out there. Here's a quick overview of five well known acting techniques used by actors around the world with links to more information!
Classical Acting Technique
Classical Acting is a technique created by Constantin Stanislavski. In Stanislavski's method, actors study concentration, voice, physical skills, emotion memory, observation, and dramatic analysis. Actors are asked to put themselves in the mindset of their characters and find things in common with them in order to give a more accurate portrayal of the role.
Read more about Classical Acting here
The Chekhov Acting Technique
Michael Chekhov was a student of Stanislavski and later added to the Classical Acting technique. In Chekhov's method, actors focus on the internal problems of their characters and then express the issue through movement. Actors using this technique physicalize their characters' needs and internal dynamics in the the form of an external gesture. Study focus on transformation, working with impulse, imagination and inner and outer movements.
Read more about The Checkhov Technique here
Method Acting Technique
Method Acting is credited to Lee Strasberg and members of his theatre group. Method Acting emphasizes connecting to a character by drawing on personal emotions and memories, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory.
Read more about Method Acting here
Meisner Acting Technique
The Meisner Technique is closely related to Method Acting. It requires actors to focus not on themselves but entirely on the other actors as though they are real and only exist at the moment. The most important exercise used in Meisner's method is called the Repetition Exercise. A repeated phrase is used and actors are asked to be in the moment and respond spontaneously both physically and vocally.
Read more about the Meisner Technique here
Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique
Practical Aesthetics was developed by David Mamet and William H. Macy. This acting technique focuses not on the character but on the actor. What does the actor want to accomplish in the scene? What would the actor do in this situation? This method breaks down scenes using the following four step analysis:
1. Literal - The basic description of what's happening
2. Want - What does one character ultimately want the other actor to say or do
3. Essential Action - What the actor wants within a scene
4. As If - How the actor would respond in given circumstances
Read more about Practical Aesthetics here
I'm excited. Are you? REST's first open meeting of 2019 is coming up fast. I've been sending out Facebook messages and invites, connecting with people, and working hard to bring a couple of surprises to the meeting. Don't forget to mark your calendars: 13 March, 19:00, Museumplein 40, pavilion entrance. I'll be in the area on Wednesday and take a few clear pictures of the building so you can't miss it. We'll have plenty of free sugar rushes in the form of delectable homemade cookies, so come one and all!
I've created a check list form for the open meeting. Dafni and I have been thinking of some fun activities REST could offer our members, and I want to know your preferences and opinions. Don't worry: it isn't long, it's easy, and I hope you'll be excited about a few of our thoughts and ideas. But it will help me immensely to know what YOU want from REST membership, so please take the time to fill it in.
Remember: if you can't make the meeting but you want to be involved, drop me (Ky) a note on our contact form or message our Facebook page. I'll reply as quickly as possible and do my best to answer all your questions. We can also meet to discuss various aspects of REST, our production, and our marketing plans. I'm eager to get you into the group and having fun!
I know what we can do as a group. How much we can accomplish and how far we can go. Come on the 13th and find out how you can be involved. Don't forget: we're announcing our 2019 production on the 13th. Get a jump on everyone else by knowing what our plans are for this year. And yes, we'll be holding auditions for our 2019 production - another reason you'll want to come to our open meeting. But there's so much more than acting to be done, and so many ways to be connected and make real friendships in our group! Join us and find out what you can do.