As I had already developed a rough outline of an idea prior to the actual proposal of ideas and the rehearsal started, I feel my group had a slight head start which put us in good stead for the whole development and rehearsal process of our TIE project. Nevertheless, I do feel that this was dangerous at times as it meant we ran the risk of members of the group to get complacent or too relaxed with everything as they had the attitude that we were already further ahead than most of the groups. While I can see why they may have had this attitude and understand that being ahead of the game can be a good thing, I think that it perhaps prevented us reaching the potential we could have as group, as things were sometimes put off down to the fact the other groups were not yet at that stage. In my opinion comparisons between others is always dangerous as just like no two people or performers are the same, no two companies progress rate is going to be the same as every one is working on a different production and are starting from different points.
Following from this, I feel that my idea that was picked as one of the TIE pieces was both a blessing and a curse as it meant that I worked myself ridiculously hard and took on so any jobs as I felt ownership over the piece and that it was my job to take control and ensure it was portrayed in the manner I and first imagined it. Furthermore, I think it lead to other members of the company feeling that it was okay to step back from contributing any ideas or taking on a bigger role in the process. If I was doing this again I think I would stress to my team mates that even though the idea was initially mine, it didn’t mean that they should hold back from contributing a much as possible as after it is a collaborative process. Admittedly, I can see that this is probably partially my own fault, as I am such a perfectionist that I like having control over things so that I know that the end product will be as strong and close to perfect as possible. I think that although at times this is a good ting, I should challenge myself to let go of this controlling side a little and trust in the ability of other people to take on more.
Evaluating myself is always a difficult thing to do as I am naturally very critical of myself, however I can’t deny the fact that I did an awful lot of work throughout the process to develop and create the final show. As well as coming up with the original idea and character and writing the script for our show, I also think I showed good leadership skills by taking on a directing role and helping the other members of the group shape their characters. I also made a big effort to update and edit and ammend the script as we went through the process and develop ideas to ensure the scenes were as best they could be. By talking to my mum (who works at a primary school with year one children) to update her and share my ideas on the language used and learning objectives, I was able to make sure the show was suitable for the age group and that the subjects we were covering were relevant to what the children would be learning at their level. I think the fact I went away and used this primary research to perfect the script and delivery of our performances showed my dedication and strive to create the best show possible that also meets all of the educational criteria. Writing the script was a challenge in itself for me, however I was adamant that it was a skill that I wanted to work on develop as I know that in the last I used to love writing and I have always had a vibrant imagination! I really enjoyed creating all of the various characters and their individual voices whilst writing and then watching these come alive throughout the rehearsal process. Nevertheless, I do feel slightly bad as I found out much later that Leah was quite resentful towards me having written the script as she apparently had wanted the opportunity to write, as she hopes to study creative writing at a higher level. However, this was not told to me or expressed by Leah and so I had no idea that she wanted to contribute to this side of the process. If I were to go back and be told this information at the start I would have been more than happy to share some of the script writing out, however no one else seemed to want to and we agreed as a group that it would be better if the writing style was consistent throughout its entirety. While it may seem like I took on too many of the responsibilities regarding the development of our piece, this was simply because I was so enthusiastic for the end result to be of a high standard and wanted to do all I could to help achieve this! As mentioned before I also ended up creating a lot of the props and production elements in my own time as well, as lots had been left to the last minute and we were running out of time to get everything ready. This frustrated me slightly as by this point I really did feel like I was doing the majority of the work and the person putting the most effort into preparing for the show and making sure everything was of the standard it should be. Another aspect I ended up taking on board, contrary to what was originally planned, was the radio broadcasts which were supposed to be voiced by leah, but due to her missing so many rehearsals and not informing us on her absences, we were left with no choice but to create the sound tracks without her, as otherwise we risked not having anything ready by the time of the performance. Furthermore, in rehearsals leah was often not heard when delivering the broadcasts due to her tendency to slur words and mispronounce things, and therefore lots of the key information was lost for the audiences.
If I were to evaluate the individual contribution and performance of my company members throughout the process I would have to pick up on Josh’s enthusiasm and willingness to help me throughout the rehearsal process. Josh got on board straight away with my idea and was happy to take on the role of The Evil Shape Collector and began working on his characterisation from day one. I felt that he showed a lot more drive at the beginning of the process, but this may have just been because there was more for him to do at this stage in regards to sourcing character inspirations and starting to form a picture of who the ESC was and how he might channel this into his body language and voice. I think that he also played a really good role at mentoring and pushing Daytona to reach her potential (although I feel that he got carried away and his enthusiasm became too harsh and forceful at time and resulted in Daytona feeling like she was being targeted and picked on). I completely don’t think this was Josh’s intention and think sometimes he just didn’t read the signs and pushed it too far but recognise that he was probably just so focused on getting her to let go and not hold back in rehearsal as he knew that she could do it. On the other hand, I know that Josh and Daytona have a history and often have fall outs and conflict and that this was often brought into the rehearsal room, meaning rehearsals were often tense and so when either one of them gave feedback to each other it would be taken personally in the wrong way. This is something Josh acknowledged on many occasions and often worried about in between rehearsals as he didn’t want it to affect the groups progress and he even took it upon him to message Daytona to apologise for the occasions he came across as bossy or overly critical. Josh contributed a lot at the beginning that helped fuel the development of the show by suggesting exercises such as hot seating o help with characterisation and took it upon himself to compile short videos of each of the characters in a trailer style sequence (however this was not actually used for anything). Lots of the ideas Josh had were really creative and showed his enthusiasm but they were not always relevant and he was sometimes doing them for the sake of doing it; for example he was adamant on recording these short videos and then spent a lot of time editing the videos together, which although was a nice idea, we had no use for this video and it drilled into rehearsal time. On the production side of things, such as sourcing props, Josh appeared very motivated at the beginning and often would post pictures of possible costumes and props he had found. There were also moments where Josh didn’t think to think of the rest of the group and made crucial decisions without consulting us; while at time this was a positive thing and showed great initiative, on other occasions this was problematic and caused confusion and frustration amongst the group. An example of this being, when Josh ordered his costume off of amazon without consulting the rest of the group before hand, and the costume he choice wasn’t what we had discussed prior to then. Nonetheless, we managed to resolve this quickly and actually worked out for the best of the production, it would have been nice to have waited until getting a response from the group to agree on it. Admittedly, Josh did try and contribute to some elements of the production side such as a programme, however he hadn’t thought about the audience we were doing this for, and instead of researching and thinking about what 5 and 6 year olds might be able to absorb and would like to have, he simply focused on the design element and ended up replicating a programme similar to one we might see in any theatre. The design he chose was very dark and the there was far too much text and unnecessary information (such as picture of a dog in a suit on the back and a caption saying that Sherlock had become the president which not only was completely irreverent but the words used were way above anything they would be able to read or understand and would probably just confuse them!) Therefore I took it upon me to redo the programme myself as we were running out of time and I wouldn’t be able to help Josh do this together as he only sent it to me the weekend before our performance! I felt a little bad for doing this as I feared that it looked like I was just taking over and being controlling, however, I knew that if I didn’t do it while I had the chance it wouldn’t get done!
Daytona was very apprehensive and held back a lot at the beginning of the process and I felt that she wasn’t very comfortable in her role as it was quite a bold character that she maybe felt was out of her depth, however I had every confidence in her that she would find her feet and do well in the part if she just let go and believed in herself and refrained from worrying about what others think or if it makes her look stupid or not. I initially cast her as this role as I remember right at the beginning of year 1 when we were both on the musical theatre pathway we did a short compilation performance of ‘A funny thing happened on the way to the forum’ in which she played the dumb psychic and in rehearsal she really started to get the character. It was because of this I waned to challenge her with a part like this again as I feel that she had the ability to do it if she just let go of her inhibitions as she is actually really good at comedy when she refrains from taking herself seriously! I think it is Daytona’s shyness and fear of people not thinking she is an good or having preconceived views on her and her acting ability that holds her back, and sometimes makes it come across as if she doesn’t care. We had some problems with Daytona turning up to rehearsals at the beginning of the rehearsal process which caused some conflict in the group and made it difficult to progress as quickly as we would have liked as it was impossible to do without her as her character was such an integral part of the plot. However, as we got closer to the deadline she started pulling her weigh more and was actually making some really beneficial contributions such as making the giant leaf and cutting out shapes for the set. She also started to take on he notes we had been giving her about her characterisation such as working on creating a lower voice to suggest Morgan’s stupidity and a clumsier walk and stance. I think once Daytona got past worrying about looking stupid she showed just how much she could do in regards to acting and creating characters. The one on one work Daytona did with Erica to develop a voice for Morgan definitely paid off and perhaps even helped her separate herself from the character, and then as a result put more effort in to the part. Daytona seemed to lack confidence in the parts that involved audience interaction and tended to drop her characterisation slightly and show Daytona’s fear and vulnerability. I can understand that breaking the fourth wall can be intimidating and especially difficult in rehearsals when there is no one to actually address, which can often make you feel slightly silly on the inside if you’re not used to it. Nevertheless, I personally feel that as an actor, if you are fully involved and absorbed in a scene then this shouldn’t become a problem or even enter your mind, as for that character it is completely the right thing for them to do at that time. From my observation, Daytona became more believable and invested in her character of Morgan and more willing to offer characterisation and play around more once she was in costume – perhaps because once again I helped her transform into the character as the big coat and hat changed the way she walked and felt. Although I feel Daytona managed to redeem herself towards the end of the rehearsal process, it remains hard to ignore the fact that her absences and lateness to rehearsals made it difficult to work with her at times due to not being able to progress further or work on particular scenes.
I was expecting Harry to be really enthused about the whole project and throw himself into it fully, however I felt like he held back slightly more than I was expecting. I don’t know if this was because he wasn’t happy with his part or whether he just wasn’t enjoying the process, but part of me worried as I know from working with Harry on other projects that he wasn’t usually one to hold back and not contribute his ideas. Notwithstanding this, Harry did do everything that was required of him throughout rehearsals, however the Harry I know would usually strive to go above and beyond to make a perfect show. Part of me was concerned that this was my fault, or that he felt like he couldn’t make contributions, but on the other hand I could just be reading to much into this. Harry definitely worked hard at the beginning of the process, particularly on his own characterisation, including the physicality and voice of Sherlock Bones. I sent him some links at the beginning of rehearsal to give him some ideas, however after a while he sourced his own inspirations and even continued to research further, looking into the copyright around the name ‘Sherlock Bones’ (which I hadn’t even thought to do). From my personal view point I think Harry is a very independent worker who tends to do most of his preparation and development outside of the rehearsal room, which is probably why I didn’t always notice the work he was doing to progress – but I know it was obviously being done as he had managed to develop lots of strong character choices which changed and improved throughout the rehearsal process. One area I would have liked to see Harry throw himself into more would have been the production side of it all; as although he sourced his own costume and came up with the idea of the deer stalker hat and the goggles for ESC, he didn’t contribute to the making of any props or shapes for the set. Moreover, Harry was a massive help when creating the audio tracks for the broadcast and sourcing the sound effects with me. This was done on a day where Harry and I were the only ones present as everyone else was absent or working on their essays and so we decided to work together to get this done. Harry has always been interested in the media production side of things and so I think he enjoyed being involved in putting this together. Although he didn’t necessarily record anything, he helped me download and cut the tracks we needed and gave me his opinion on what worked and what didn’t when multi-tracking all the mp3 files, voice recordings and sound effects. Harry’s acting and actual performance was really strong and I felt that his character work of Sherlock bones helped create some really comedic moments in the performance, and it was clear that he had taken lots of the advice any feedback we received from the rehearsed reading and sharing’s, for example how he should sit as Sherlock. It was scenarios such as this that gave me the impression that Harry worked much better as an independent worker rather than contributing to group tasks such as creating production elements like props in his own time.
If we were to go back and do the whole rehearsal process again I would probably delegate various tasks and responsibilities to each of the cast members, to ensure that they contributed enough to the project as a whole and didn’t just leave the majority of the work load to myself and occasionally a few other members of the group. I am aware it may look like I took this upon myself at times to ensure that everything was perfect, however if we had more time and didn’t leave these aspects to the last minute I would have been more than happy to work on these as a joint effort but we simply didn’t have the time to do this. For example with the programme when I redid Josh’s original draft, however I knew that his attempt wasn’t suitable for our target audience and if I didn’t do it myself then it wouldn’t get done in time for our performance. Nevertheless, I always made sure I spoke to the rest of the group before I changed anything as I was aware of how this is a group piece and that the effort and decisions should always be joint!
I think the whole experience of developing this TIE performance and workshop package and working with a small group to achieve this has taught me a lot of skills, both linked to performing and team work and how to work as a company and how to deal with problems and conflicts that may arise. I have definitely learnt a lot about the art of TIE and the skills I need to present myself as an actor in this style and how much it differs from other styles; for example breaking the fourth wall, audience participation, only asking questions you are willing to get an answer for etc. As demonstrated throughout the evaluation, I contributed an awful lot to the development of our show and workshop, including the initial idea, the writing of the script, making the shapes/props, purchasing and finding 3D shape kits online, designing the programmes, and creating the workshop. I feel I have grown as a leader and proved to myself that I have the confidence and capability to do this without having to doubt myself constantly (which personally is a big achievement for me as I recently stopped taking on leadership roles out of fear of not being good enough and being judged). I hope that I’ll be able to use all the skills I have learnt for my development as an actress in the future, but I also will be sure to keep the leadership and directing skills and try and apply these to future projects such as the FMP. I actually really enjoyed writing the script and creating the ideas and characters for our TIE show as well and think this may be something I could explore more in the future and keep under y belt in case I ever need to create new work as an out of work actor in the industry!