Sunday, June 15, 2008

The changing mantra!

"Everyone has their own personal catch phrase, or a lyric or something that inspires them. Whether they doodle it on their text books in school, or use it in every day conversation, these phrases may have the ability to inspire and encourage us to be more confident or believe in ourselves." (Shores LTD)

Known as the mantra, this is a very useful tool for the actor. I've recently carried out some workshops using this to personify a characters personality. Also i've begun to look for mantras in different scenes. (A scenes personality.)

As we intend to go back into The Old Red Lion in Sept-Oct 2008 with the hit American play "Back of the Throat" my thoughts turn to the producing of this script into a quality play to follow in the success of "In my Name" (About to open at Trafalgar Studios.) Happy I am to say that I can simply look at this one with an actors eyes.

Myself and Kevin are pleasantly enjoying company life at the moment. We have a nice mixture of work coming our way and it has been a delight watching the development of the In my Name company.

Sitting (as I have) on the periphery and wearing the producers hat to keep the sun out of my eyes has been an incredible journey of discovery.

I've watched as a DSM on the play "Bad Blood" and i've enjoyed making decisions about good and bad theatre acting in many different workshops both as a participant and leader. All in preparation for "the next time."

So now it befalls that i am to tread the boards again. And so the work begins.

This is what it's all about. We just keep plugging forwards. Taking on different roles, knocking on many different doors and presenting ourselves and the company as honestly as possible.

"Back of the Throat" is a hard hitting look at the post 9/11 America. Two FBI agents begin a harmless interrogation with a Muslim suspect. The play moves effortlessly from inquisitive and smile faced intrusion, to paranoid suspicion.

As the work begins to bring the character to life the mantra is a tool that i'm finding very useful. Finding a phrase or sound for Carl is going to be a tricky job. He is mixed up in a lot of confusion and it is possible I think that his mantra is changeable. How many of us have sat on the tube when it grinds to a halt and we are left for 30 minutes wandering who everyone else is on the train? The train then starts up again and we are left feeling guilty for our suspicion as we realise that it was brought on by irrational fear. Why should anyone else suffer at the hands of our own confusion.

With "be vigilant" signs popping up every where as eye candy for the suspicious world that we now live in I realise what terrorism has managed to do to our weird and wonderful world. My heart sinks. This was never about a body count. Mass destruction is just icing. They've struck at the very heart and mind link of human nature.

"Why put on these hard hitting plays" someone asked me two days ago. we strive for contentment there is some cathartic level of discovery in researching this topic. A topic that if i'm honest i'm scared of. How do we get over our fears?? We meet them head on. I'm going to meet this internal, irrational and permanently looming fear and i'm going to smile in it's face. And this is an actors dream.

Yes the play deals with relationships, character interaction and all the visceral and visual components that befalls great and interesting acting. But more importantly it deals with things we can't see. For Carl to work i'll need to sort out what's going on inside his head before anything else happens. That's what we signed up for.

Cheers for the mantra! Mine is singing today. xx


“…[a] brilliant and sinewy new play.” —The New Yorker.

“BACK OF THE THROAT could be the post-9/11 play we’ve been waiting for: the sum of all our domestic fears, played for uneasy laughs and piercing dread.” —NY Newsday.

“BACK OF THE THROAT plays like a section of the U.S. Patriot Act as dramatized by David Mamet and Franz Kafka.” —American Theatre Magazine.

“…chillingly plausible vision…captures the Strangelovian logic of feds as well as the more subtle paranoia that afflicts us all.” —Seattle Weekly.

“Wickedly funny…surely to be remembered as a valuable contribution to the post-9/11 canon of plays.” —New City (Chicago).

“BACK OF THE THROAT is a must see for anyone who loves good theatre…” — Chicago Magazine.


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