Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LAMDA Week 3 by Phillip Mitchell

Phillip Mitchell, recent Freehold Ensemble Training Intensive (ETI) alum, just spent a month in London studying at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (as did fellow recent ETI alum, Monica Chilton - photo of Phillip and Monica at left). Check out this post highlighting his London training adventures ....


This has been a busy, tiring, challenging, frustrating, wonderful week. Classes at LAMDA with wonderful teachers continue. A few of them (the classes) were the last of their kind, so to speak. We won’t have any more classes with these particular teachers as we go into our final week of the Shakespeare Intensive. This includes Historic Dance and Mask.

Our Historic Dance teacher would probably best be described as "prickly". Many of my young classmates are put off by her attention to detail and drive for perfection. I enjoyed her and the class a great deal. She's a little older than me and has a wry sense of humor. Now that I think of it, she's very much like Harry Potter's Professor McGonagall.

"Mask" is a technique used to discover a neutral state of being. It's a way of being aware and alive and open to one's impulses. True responses are experienced and expressed rather than habitual ones. It was quite enlightening for me both by doing and by watching classmates. The instructor is a jolly sort with a quick eye and even quicker wit.

My scene partner for the Shakespeare class decided she didn't want to do our scene so that she could focus on the other scene she's doing. The good news is I've got a new scene partner and the work is going very well. We surpassed, in one rehearsal, all previous attempts. Our teacher, a Shakespeare director who has worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company, said "I fear we are in danger of having something quite good here". He, like many Brits, is a master of understatement.

Yesterday afternoon after classes and a Skype date with my wife, Sandi, I went to the West End to see a show. I had a couple in mind but wasn't sure which would have an available seat. I got a ticket at the TKTS discount booth and strolled around Covent Garden. There's a big market there that is part shopping mall, part busker festival, and part flea market. I got some paella that was really tasty and watched a little of two different street performer shows. It was a stormy day so I bought a new umbrella at a booth in the flea market but, of course, it stopped raining. Oh well, I might have some use for it in Seattle.

The play I watched is Journey's End. It's about a small group of British Army officers literally in the trenches of WW1. It is an amazing play, very well done, and truly moving.

One of the best surprises I’ve had while at LAMDA is my preparedness for the work. I expected to be challenged, and I was, but mostly in response to the physical demands of courses like Stage Combat and Physical Theatre and a very full schedule. My work at Freehold in the Meisner Progression and the ETI Program has enabled me to ‘swim in the fast lane’ when it comes to acting Shakespeare and acting in general.

I can hardly wait to get it on the stage.

To see Phillip’s blog about his trip to London, go to: http://seattleactorinlondon.blogspot.com/

Read more about Freehold's Meisner Progression

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Play Lab Auditions - Sunday, August 28

Audition for our New Play Lab Showcase!

New Play Lab Auditions

Sunday, August 28, 2:00 - 6:00 pm

Auditions will be held at Freehold Theatre, 2222 2nd Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle 98121.

Reserve an audition slot by FRIDAY, AUGUST 26TH AT 4:00 PM via our contact form (under "category" choose "New Play Lab Auditions"). In your email include your name, phone number and preferred audition times. Times available are 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 or 5:00 slot. We will be scheduling 5-10 people per time slot. Sides will be provided at the audition.

Here are the details:

Four new plays, modern relationship plays, seek actors to portray characters conflicted in all the right places.

Each excerpt of a play (20 minutes) will require two 2-hour rehearsals with a local professional director and two readings/performances before a live audience, evenings of September 9 and 10. Cast Breakdown: We're looking for men and women, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s of all ethnicities. Also looking specifically for 2 women, 1 man who are African American, in their late 20s/30's and one woman 60 or older.

Please bring your headshot and resume to audition.

Photo from New Play Lab 2010
Photo by Scott Maddock

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Acting Tools By Brianna Chicha

John Jacobsen's passion is infectious. In addition to a wealth of knowledge and experience, he's just plain inspiring. Every day I left class with a renewed commitment to myself as an artist. John believes and teaches that if we work hard enough we can reach our goals. And I believe him.

Until last fall when I came to Freehold, my only training had been Meisner training. I love Meisner training and believe it has been instrumental in the formation of my technique. However, my question has always been "how do I show up ready to work without the benefit of rehearsal?" Acting for the Camera not only answered that question, it gave me ample chance to practice. I'm a diligent note taker, and I wrote down all of John's suggestions on the first night of class, yet they didn't show up in my first scene. By seeing the mistakes and jumping right into another scene, I was able to apply the lesson while it was fresh. A chance to practice new methods several times made them present enough in my experience to draw on in the future. What was awkward at the beginning of the class became easier.

I also gained a better understanding of scene structure which helped tremendously with determining the subtext and the rhythm of the scenes. One of the tools that I had never used before was journaling my thoughts through the whole scene. This was the tool I missed on my first scene. Fortunately for me, I got to use the embarrassment of not liking my performance to do better the next time. For the next three scenes I journaled my thoughts, and in doing so discovered where I didn't understand things I had thought I did. I much prefer seeing that while I'm preparing, than later when I'm looking at tape. Because I got a chance to reinforce new habits, they are now part of my process and I don't have to reference my notes to remember them.

I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the summer!


If you want to check out our Acting for the Camera class (or our Intro to Acting, Voice or Playwriting classes), come to Freehold's Open House on Thursday, September 8 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. Sample several of our classes including John Jacobsen's Acting for the Camera. FREE event but reserve a space at Brown Paper Tickets.
Freehold's Fall Classes are now open for registration. Check out the diverse line-up of classes at Freehold.