I started my acting course today – Beginners Acting for Adults, at the Merseyside Academy of Drama (MAD) in Liverpool. Firstly it’s in a part of Liverpool I don’t/didn’t know very well, I’ve never needed to go that way before, it was a new experience.
There are only 5 of us on the course, plus tutor makes 6. For some reason I thought there’d be more people, but I guess a smaller class means for more attention and help. Three guys, myself and another female. Two have done am-dram before, one has just finished uni and trying a different path and one has not only done acting since a child but also had Shakespearian Actor Training so why he is on this course is beyond me. Then there is me, doing this course to help start my acting career.
We were asked to explain why we were there, my reason was this, my grandma got a scholarship to RADA (Royal Academy of Drama and the Arts) in London, but due to the war had to turn it down. I have been interested in acting my whole life, she helped with that interest. I’m not only doing this for myself but also partially for her, to succeed where she did not. The tutor was rather impressed with that.
We were each given a question and had to think about it for 5 minutes and stand in front of everyone and tell our findings. My question; if you were condemned to die, what would be your last meal and why? My answer was Moules Mariniere with Kir Royale followed by Lemon and Raspberry sorbet. It reminds me of happy times on family holidays to France. I also wondered why I was condemned to die and came to conclusion I must have murdered someone and be in the USA! I was nervous, nay, terrified doing this speech in front of the group. I’ve done speeches in school, class presentatons etc, I never had a problem, but in front of these 5, one being a tutor of Drama I was a nervous wreck! The tutor asked me how I thought it went after I’d spoken, I said badly. He replied “actually it came across clearly, well spoken, articulate, very well done indeed”, the others agreed. My confidence improved slightly.
We were then given a passage from the first page of Paddington Bear by Michael Bond, a simple piece of prose, descriptive without being too elaborate. We each had to stand in front of the group and say the passage, each said it in their own way, bringing intrigue and joy. My legs were shaking, my hands shook as I held the piece of paper, I felt flustered, rushed, scared. Apparently I spoke slowly, clearly, made eye contact, have feeling, made it sound like you were there. I felt relieved when the tutor said that, I’d have hated to make a mistake!
We were told what we were going to be doing over the next 9 weeks, voice practice, breathing exercises, duologues and monologues, improvisation, basic character building, creating a scene either from a play or made up to perform in house at the end of the course. We will also be touching on Constantin Stanislavski, a Russian who created the basis of modern theatre. It all sounds very interesting and exciting!
I also think this course will not just help my acting, but also my confidence, depression and anxiety. It’s an outlet I love, want to do in life, it’s a learning curve as well. Much of what the tutor said today I knew, but no doubt I will learn things I didn’t know. My nerves were heightened today because I was totally out of my comfort zone, the tutor said all good actors are nervous before performance, you’re not an actor unless you’re nervous. He said he knows people who stand in a corner, sit watching the piece in the wings or are even physically sick before their performance, but once on stage it’s all gone, and you get a surge of adrenaline, like nothing any drug could ever give you. I like the sound of adrenaline that no drug can give!
It’s a new experience and one I am very much looking forward to delving deeper into! As they say; the show must go on!