Tuesday, 18 August 2009

We Are the Now Generation

Back again for the mega NYT review. This post will probably be fairly long.

NYT was a truly fantastic experience and definitely confirmed (if it needed confirming!) that drama and theatre is what I want to go into. The course itself was inspiring and educating, developing my skills and introducing totally new ways of working. I also met some of the most amazing people I've ever met and really made some lifelong friends.

The first week of the course was spent on developing our skills, because the next week we would develop a piece of theatre to be performed in the outside amphitheater at Laban. This meant daily yoga in order to both keep us fit and also give us an awareness of our bodies. This mainly consisted of the '5 Tibetans', a series of exercises that our director, Neil, performed with ease but which we found very difficult. We also performed Sun Salutations which gradually increased in number throughout the course. Both of these exercises became the bane of our lives but, ironically, many of us have carried on post-course both in tribute to Neil and in the realisation they actually did us good!

We also had workshops on movement with various outside instructors, to create interesting ways of moving and 'beautiful' theatre. This mainly meant working as an ensemble and moving in time as one giant machine. Similarly we worked on voice in order to make sure that we would be heard outside. We sang songs, improvised, learnt dance lifts, did trust exercises and played games

The second week consisted of developing two minutes of material that would be inspired by the work and play we had done the week before. There were 10 courses happening during the two weeks, and once each had come up with two minutes of material, the whole course would be incorporated to produce a twenty minute piece. Our piece, which eventually was known as the 'Haka Hug' began with a clump of people kneeling and singing a Kenyan funeral song. At the end of the song, one of our group was raised by the others so that she appeared to be flying and blew a kiss to another, who stumbled backwards. He then ran forwards to towards the group, lifting himself onto the shoulders of two, who would fall sideways. The entire group would then fall to the floor in a ripple effect. This was then proceeded by the standing picking up those lying and hugging them to a piece of music called 'Hope There's Someone' by Anthony and the Johnsons.

The other groups pieces were all very different but incredible and the final piece was amazing. We performed it twice on Saturday afternoon to a group of NYT higher ups and various other people. After the final performance, I felt conflicting emotions: we had just performed an amazing piece of theatre and were now officially members of the National Youth Theatre, but this also meant our course was over.

This is a video of part of the performance taken by one of the directors, Paul Clayton:

The best part of the course, though, was the people I met. Everyone on our course was extremely friendly and interesting and there was a core of about 10 of us who spent the majority of our time together. Its really strange how close you can get to people within only two weeks but when you spend every minute with people and you're going through something so intense, you really feel like you've known them for years. Most of us hadn't lived alone before and the added pressures of cooking, cleaning and money management was another thing that brought us all together. The last few days were very sad and many a tear was shed on the final Sunday when each of us said our goodbyes and parted ways. We all tried to remember that we'd all see each other again and that it wasn't the end but the beginning. Still, it was a great group of people and, through Facebook and texting, we all know how much we miss each other. A few of the group are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe festival and others, including myself, are planning a roadtrip up there to see everyone and celebrate one girl's 18th birthday. I really can't wait to see them again.

A made a few videos with photos and songs that were used in the final performance:


I really haven't covered half of what we did or half of how amazing it was, but if I did I'd be here for hours. I'm sure I'll come back to it someday, but now let me just say that NYT was fantastic, I'll never forget it, and if anyone's thinking about auditioning, DO IT!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

National Yoof Theatre

I'll update with more information later when I'm less exhausted and depressed but I got back from NYT today and it was am-AH-zing. The course itself was interesting and I learnt so much - I really feel like I improved as a performer. It was very emsemble-based with lots of movement and visual elements. The best part of the course, though, was the people that I met. At the beginning of the two weeks, we were told that people make friends for life at NYT; we brushed this off as usual patter. However, by the end of the two weeks I'd met some amazing people who I will definitely be seeing again.

Things to look forward to in the long report - Olympic bids, Shakespearean actors, Peep Show actors, drama queens and invisible theatre.