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Twelfth Night

My 'Radiant, Exquisite and Unmatchable' Twelfth Night Experience

My first audition at St Dominic’s, I had to make it a good one!  I had rehearsed Viola’s soliloquy over 50 times, practised dropping and picking the ring, even wore manly attire to fit her character description.  Then the paper came around… which character would you like to be cast as?  I wrote down Olivia or Viola.  The waiting process was a nerve-racking one.  I had laid it all on the table.  What if I wasn’t good enough? Next thing you know we get an email, with the casting list. I was cast as… Olivia. 'YES!' I thought.  I was over the moon.

Little did I know how hard memorising Shakespeare was going to be.  Our first reading session as a group soon came around, then vocal and acting warm-ups.  Everyone felt awkward and shy at first but we soon broke out of our shells and became more and more familiar with each other.  Our script was the same size as a GCSE revision guide - we highlighted our lines and began the rehearsal process. Georgina helped us in 'translating' and breaking down tricky monologues into easy sections we could memorise and act out with comprehension.  Carrie blocked every scene in every act with us, guiding and directing our group to be a perfect ensemble. Her creative warm-ups and exercises opened our assemblage into a comfortable space.  We are so grateful to have worked with both Carrie and Georgina.

I would consider Twelfth Night to be my first biggest commitment at St Dom's; I had to put Netball aside to focus more on rehearsal and learning my lines. I'm glad it was all worth it.  Rehearsals soon became the highlight of my week, laughing, jumping around, the 'moo-offs' every game and scene bought us all closer together.  We grew to be a little family... An emotionally bonded group of friends.

Embracing the character of Olivia was almost instinctive, her dominant aspiration personality matched my own in many ways, I was even writing emails with her voice. Her powerful persona allowed my personal growth, not just in understanding and performing Shakespeare but also in the art of never breaking character. There will always be a part of me that reflects her charismatic nature and hopefully, these lines will stay with till the English Literature A-level exams in 2021.

The two nights of performance finally reached, Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th... Excitement and nervousness rattled through our veins, moods both high and low flushed over our troupe. Time slowed as we practised meditation in solitude darkness before our time on stage, our thoughts had calmed and now, we were ready.   Scenes ran smoothly and everyone worked at their best to deliver an amazing performance. The second night was even better than the first.  Some scenes we even delivered with spontaneous acting, directions we thought felt right for the character at the time. The laughter grew louder throughout the nights and the comedic play was thankfully presented with comedy at its heart.  Cheering from an engaging, supportive audience saw the end to our months-long rehearsals and wondrous performances.  It is truly impossible to forget those bright yellow stockings and cross garters. It is also impossible to forget the friendships we've forged and the wonderful process we have been blessed to experience.  Till the next time...

Dona Kahawe - Y1 Student

 

My Twelfth Night Experience

I remember walking up the hill from McDonalds at Shaftesbury Circle towards the school to audition for the play, Twelfth Night, that I had heard was going on from the person who later played the part of Count Orsino. 

The two of us walked into the north entrance of the Catherine Building where we saw a long line of people beginning at the door and extending out along the daylight shun corridor of whom we would know significantly more towards the end of the production.  I remember making a joke about how dark the drama room looked (as there was a black A3 piece of paper Sellotaped at the other side of the window) and went in. Nevertheless, my comment was somewhat accurate, the room, as I recall, was devoid of all lights with exception to the blinding spotlight shooting down at the centre of the room where the audition was to be performed. I then said a speech by the character of Viola. It, like most acting moments, functioned much like a shootout in a Sergio Leone western with the long build-up, the stares, the anticipation, the endless waiting followed by a loud bang as you shout your lines as fast and as loud and as clear as possible and then abruptly leave hoping you haven’t embarrassed yourself completely. But of course, nothing in drama is personal, and if you are working with the right people the only way to truly embarrass yourself is to give an underwhelming performance. 

The next stage was the read-outs in which we all read the play from start to finish to get a good outline of what the play was about, the nature of the characters and the play’s overall tone. This wave was followed by a series of activities which were effective awakening warm-ups for the rehearsals that immediately followed.

The rehearsals whilst at times quite difficult eventually became quite enjoyable, the whole acting experience was a good way to feed one's tendency to need attention from others which i assume was the reason why most actors do what they do. The actual craft was also very interesting, for this play in particular it was less about being naturalistic like in most films and instead being extremely expressionistic, wearing all your emotion on your sleeves as you say your lines ringing out as much variation as you can. On the night although for most of the actors nerves were running high we all found that as soon as we were actually up on stage everything we had been doing for the last few months kicked in resulting in great performances all round and a production that, for the most part, we were proud of.

William Byrne - Y1 Student