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

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