'I SWEAR SNAKE OIL'S GIVEN ME THE EDGE..'
Fancy a carousel ride on speed? Therapy? A turn around the treacherous Elizabethan court? It's all yours. The Poor School four day acting course is open to
anyone and everyone. You get an authentic and up front acting experience; and in my case, a black eye on the first day.
FRILLS, FLIRTS AND FOES
I sang for my clam supper; 'slit 'em down the back and cover 'em with pepperrrrrr......' (from the musical, Carousel), played a desperate world class violinist with a debilitating illness, (the therapy), in Duet
For One, and relished a taste of 16th century treachery courtesy of a courtly dance. Possibly more garotte than Gavotte; I didn't care. I was THERE in amidst the frills, flirts and foes.
BLACK EYED KNEES
That black eye in the first day's movement class was a bit of a downer; (said eye hit bloke's head during a game of 'knee tag'); but I picked up in voice class and even managed
a convincing fake punch in the stage fighting session.
TICK YES/NO IN THE AUDITION BOX
Some had ticked the 'audition me' box on
the form; others were shaking off their public and private sector pressures and realising a long held dream. Or, like me; re-booting past lives, including a stint as a stand up, a drama student and an actor/writer in a touring schools' theatre company. This
time around, though, I was not plagued by a curly perm, body shyness and an almost obligatory eating disorder that still seems to be THE distressing accessory for too many 20 something women. As common, sadly, as the designer handbag.
6 LINES OF SHAKY SHYLOCK
Sure, my Shakespeare mini monologue was shocking, (6 lines of shaky Shylock), but it's progress not perfection, and I worked my
arse off rehearsing the 'violinist in therapy, 'Duet For One', scene. Juliet Stevenson still has the edge, though.
MISSED A CUE? HADN'T A CLUE?
Fellow Poor Schoolers were lovely; all pushing out their own show boat. Tutors passed on their expertise; with the patience of saints.When we missed a cue, hadn't a clue or had just gone to the loo, they kept their cool. Poor school founder, Paul
Caister, says he is committed to all students. Despite a 'grumpy Gandalf' demeanour, he's clearly opened up this craft to everyone who wants to scratch the acting itch. This inclusivity is rare; particularly in London's increasingly segragated food bank/fine
wine tribal society.
IT'S A 'YES' FROM ME
At the end of day 4, those who had ticked the 'audition me', box, were on edge;
wanting to find out whether it was a 'yes', or 'no'. This 'X Factor' selection system, made me nervous. It seemed too brutal. But then, an actor's life is just that. You're in, you're out, and all the while, you're spilling out your emotional guts in
public as well as trusting the others in your ensemble.
HADN'T TICKED? COULD YOU STILL BE PICKED?
If I am honest; and I
hadn't ticked the YES box, I STILL wanted to have my name called. I told my truth in the pub afterwards. Everyone else grinned sheepishly, and said that athough they hadn't ticked, they still WANTED to be picked.
This course gets a 'YES' from me, though. The Play will ALWAYS be the thing, and I will NEVER be too cool for acting school.