Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Sun Sets for Spring

This is really sad news: the London production of Spring Awakening, which was set for a run into October, is closing on 30th May 2009, after only a few weeks in its West End home. This show was beautiful, poignant, energetic; it literally took you from one emotion to another, between songs of sorrow like 'Left Behind' and 'Those You've Known' to upmost glee in 'Totally Fucked' and 'My Junk'. Its easy to blame other shows for Spring's demise: television casting, well known revivals, even the recession. But its simple - not enough people were going to see this amazing show. Its demographic was already fairly small compared to the big hitters of the West End and most people in that group hadn't heard of it. The last time I went, the stalls were almost full but the dress circle was less than half filled and the royal circle, empty. Unfortunately in the current economic climate, a show that is not making enough money, however acclaimed it is critically, just cannot survive. This show brought new people to theatre and showed what a musical can really be. I also desperately wanted to be in it.

I'm luckily going on Friday and I'm going to try and get day tickets for the final performance - I'd really like to show my appreciation for the immensely talented cast and a show that has really touched me. Hopefully I'll be able to.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Audition time!

Short post, just to say I have my first casting! Its on Thursday in London and its for an HBO television series based on the book series 'A Song of Ice and Fire'. The character I'm up for is called Robb Stark, and he should appear in seasons 1-3; yes, they're already considering multiple seasons. I'm a tad excited even though I know I'm not going to get it but the experience is going to be fascinating!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Audiences Behaving Badly

I've been reading a fair few threads on and got inspired by this article.

People within the thread basically talk about their pet peeves with theatre audiences, be it mobile phones ringing, sweet packets rattling or conversations held mid-performance. I have to admit, I've been fairly lucky whenever I've been watching anything. I've had the odd phone go off but nothing terribly drastic - someone in the thread witnessed a drunk hurling abuse at the actors on stage. Compared to that, I think I've had it easy and really shouldn't judge others.

But then, isn't any interruption that breaks the suspension of disbelief worthy of our condemnation? We've all paid good (and in some cases, lots of) money to come and watch the show or play, and we don't need some idiot who can't part from their Blackberry for two hours ruining our evening out. Last night I went to watch a friend's cousin in 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' at the Wimbledon theatre; the show was good, but about a quarter of the way through, the spell was broken by the electronic beeping from someone who couldn't even put their phone on silent, let alone turn it off. Why? Some on Whatsonstage cite new audiences to theatre being uneducated in the etiquette of theatre. Others claim they're just rude. Surely anyone can last two hours without receiving a text message with a joke to make them LOL? And if they cannot, they should (as I am guilty of) set their mobile to silent.

Something else that seems to set blood boiling over on the forum is what the posters have termed an 'Overlaugher', namely, someone who laughs too frequently and too loudly at things that really aren't very funny. Now, this one I have got experience of and it did get my back up. I probably speak about Spring Awakening too much over here, but it is my favourite new musical so I'm going to excuse myself. Anyway, those who have seen it will know that a crucial scene involves one of the characters asking another to whip her because she, "has never felt anything." After some persuasion, he does beat her but then explodes in rage and proceeds to punch her in the stomach and throw her to the ground. As you can imagine, it is a very tense scene and the first time I watched it I hadn't realised that my stomach was clenched until the scene was over and I had to relax. However, both times I have seen the piece someone in the audience seems to find this scene funny. How, I cannot imagine but its not only inappropriate but disrespectful.

When it comes to food in the theatre, I'm torn. I usually eat before going to see a play and I can easily last a few hours without a snack. However, I can understand that other people may want to eat and therefore bring something along with them, especially as this is already the norm in cinemas. However, I don't understand why people choose the noisiest foods imaginable - sweets in plastic wrappers, crisps, and now apparently even popcorn! Bring something quiet and discreet. When it comes to drinks - a bottle of still water is probably best, quietest and most thirst-quenching. You've come to watch and enjoy the show, not have a picnic.

Some on the forum have stated that these badly behaved theatre audiences are acting as though they've paid for their ticket and therefore can do what they like, and if this is true its quite a sorry, selfish state for British theatre. People do not seem to care about those around them anymore and how their experience is - they are going to do what they want, when they want it because they want to. End of. I do disagree with those who blame reality television casting for these audiences - the programmes bring in people who do not usually attend the theatre, it is true (and in my opinion, a good thing) but most of these people have probably at least been to the cinema and know how they should behave in a public place - decently with respect and courtesy for others. Its not that they haven't been taught how to behaviour in the theatre, its more that they either haven't been taught how to behave in public or that they just don't care. I'm inclined towards the latter.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Two weeks of theatre craziness...

Heard from the NYT on Saturday - 10 weeks after my audition when they said it'd be 8 at the most! However, I cannot harbour too many ill feelings as my letter started with the words 'Congratulations'! Our post usually comes at about noon so when I was woken by letters falling onto the mat at 8am I should have seen it as a sign. When I eventually dragged myself out of bed and went to get the letter, I immediately thought I hadn't made it. The letter was way too thin. However, heart pounding, I opened the envelope, put my hand in, and thought, "There's more than one sheet of paper in here." I pulled them out, saw the word synymous with success and immediately began jumping around my house yelling quite loudly. Went and informed my Mum, who was very pleased and then proceeded to play, sign and jump around to Spring Awakening's 'Totally Fucked' very loudly. My sister found it all very amusing.

Once I'd calmed down a tad, I had the chance to look through the letter and get a lot more excited. The week sounds amazing and after a brief chat with the parents we decided I'd shell out the additional money to stay in halls at Laban in Greenwich, where the course is being held. This has meant, unfortunately, I've had to drop out of a summer holiday to Spain with some friends but they were all very supportive, saying I couldn't pass this up. I also spoke to J and W who I auditioned with, and unfortunately they didn't get in - but it was their first time auditioning, where it was my second. Just shows its worth it to get back the next year, which they're both going to do!

I've already been speaking to some people on Facebook who are on my course, and we've all been discussing what we might get up to, what other drama experiences we have had and where we might go clubbing in the evening! I actually cannot wait.

In other news, the past two nights I had my A2 performance of 'Lord of the Flies' which went very well. The er, disruptive nature of our group meant we hadn't actually had a full run through without pauses or laughter so performing the piece in its entirety was nice, and it seemed to go down a storm with the audience which was brilliant. Many of my teachers who had never seen me perform before also complimented me on my performance, which was very nice. Bit sad its over now though, the last performance I'll have at high school!

Lastly, booked tickets for my third trip to Spring Awakening for S's birthday for next Friday - I'm excited. Does that make me a bit sad?

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Spring Time

My last post seems ridiculously long ago and in that time a ridiculous amount of things have happened so it seems ridiculous that I haven't written sooner. Ridiculous.

About two weeks ago I went back to Abacus to have my headshots done which was very exciting and fairly nerve-wracking at the same time. A good headshot can make or break a career and, knowing how important it would be, I got up very early to make sure that I was both looking my best and would make it there in time. Upon arrival, it appeared that an accident-induced traffic jam on the M25 meant that everyone who was meant to be shot before me hadn't arrived and therefore I was to go first. I quickly changed, checked my hair and went into the studio. The photographer was quite friendly although very blunt; at one point he pointed at my face and said, "I'm going to edit them afterwards so that spot there and that spot there, they'll all be gone." Cheers.

After that I went to visit 'the girls in the office' who were all very friendly, and they showed me how my Spotlight page will look. I also threw in a LOT of hints about Spring Awakening auditions and how much I'd like to play Melchior =P They also gave me my contracts to sign, so my life is now bound to them, woo!

My friend S is back from uni in Norwich this week, and I'd already told her to go and see Spring Awakening. She did and loved it, and wanted to go again before she went back. I rang up, booked stage tickets because she hadn't sat on stage and when the operator offered me stage right I had to politely ask, "Could we sit stage left please?" This was merely for perving reasons - I'm not going to say anything more than that. So this Wednesday we rushed up to London after I finished work (spending almost 15 pounds on a train ticket and parking in the process) and saw the show at the Novello which, for me, was the first time at that theatre. The show was amazing, so much better than the second time. I think it was partly that I knew more about it and also the cast had more experience now. I almost cried when Moritz kills himself and then couldn't stop smiling a minute later as the cast bounced around the stage belting out 'Totally Fucked' I love that song. Sitting stage left, I was actually right behind Aneurin Barnard who plays Melchior for a fair part of the show and at the interval I noticed some girls in the audience pointing at me and showing their friends. Suitably embarrased if a little pleased, I turned away.

The second half of the show was brilliant too, although as it neared the end I was sad it was over already! The cast came and did an encore of 'Totally Fucked' which I got quite into and was very nice.

Afterwards S and I went to the stage door, where we were informed that the cast were currently doing a Q&A and would be out soon. Now, they had done two shows that day, then a Q&A... if it was me I would've come out and gone straight home! However, they all stayed for ages to talk to us, sign things and take photos. Luckily they came out almost one at a time so we were able to talk to almost all of them. S sort-of knew Edd Judge so we talked to him for a fair while which was awesome, and also spoke to Charlotte Wakefield who plays Wendla - she is tiny! Before they came out, S and I joked that when Aneurin came out she wouldn't be able to speak and when he did come, she waited for me to start talking before complteley butting in =D. He was really nice, spent a good while talking to us and we had a conversation about us looking similar - at one point he said we could be brothers, and at another he said I could be his understudy and go on and perform whilst he goes for a pint. S joked he shouldn't have said that, I actually would go do it!

Some American women there asked him how to pronounce his name, which they butchered and then said how amazing he was to which he replied: "Don't say that, I won't be able to fit my head through the stage door!" Then S came and asked if he'd had a break yet and he said he wasn't meant to but last week he dislocated his rib and had to go to hospital and have it popped back in. Then he proceeded to lift his shirt and show us - S was very impressed.

Then the Americans asked to have a photo and I offered to take it so they both could be in it, and then I asked if I could have a photo with him which S took - its made a fair few people jealous and people have commented on how similar we look!

I think now, if I get an audition for the next cast, I should walk in and proclaim, "Aneurin said I could be his understudy, now gimme the part!"