Afternoon lesson (MT and Acting joint lesson)
After a brief discussion about sourcing backing tracks we all listened to the closing song of our show which was the song ‘Rebel’ which I originally put forward in my proposal as a solo or duet piece. I am actually really pleased it got picked for the finale number as I think the lyrics and general uplifting feel of the song speaks do much truth in regards to ever character and audience member alike as it explores the idea of no one being perfect or all good or bad. I also think that in the choruses the harmonies and a fuller sound will lift the piece and thus make far more of an impact both dynamically and musically. Lynn wanted us to all listen out for the instrumentation and vocal parts we could hear on the original album track and then discuss this as a group once the song had finished, with the thought of how we could translate this to our own performance in mind. When listening carefully I could pick out some choral backing vocals in the chorus as well as a string section (cello, bass, violin, perhaps a viola?), a guitar, piano and a drum kit. Obviously as a company we have to make the decision as to how we want to provide the accompaniment and while we may have the option of a backing track to do this, lots of us who already play instruments wanted to have the opportunity to showcase this and therefore suggested the notion of an onstage live band accompaniment! This is an idea I wanted to include from the start as I have always wanted to explore the role of an actor musician further, and while this isn’t an actor-muso role in the traditional sense, it does give us as musicians an opportunity to show another skill and will hopefully create a bigger and richer sound on stage than a backing track! Obviously my main instrument is the Alto Saxophone, and while there is no sax audible in the origami recording I don’t see there being reason why we couldn’t transpose one of the guitar parts onto sax for the instrumental sections, as naturally the song has a bluesy feel to it and so it shouldn’t be out of place; nevertheless this is something I will have to raise with the rest if the team as I think they have their hearts set on having a string accompaniment! When we discussed who plays instruments in the company we came to the conclusion that we had enough instrumentalists to put together a band, composed of: Daytona on Cello or violin , Jessica Last on piano, scott on guitar, Lou on bass guitar, Tom on guitar or piano, and potentially me on viola or sax. There were other people who played basics as well that we could use if needed (including Sian, and Han). Although Tom has asked if I might be able to learn violin in time for the show I’m slightly worried that this might be a bit optimistic as my only experience on stringed instruments is the viola which has a lot more of a richer and lower sound (but sadly I can’t use it as I have grown out of my viola now and so haven’t played in a while).
We then split off into small groups to do some character work; I went with Emma, Sian, and Jack, who are also staff at the ‘Saints and Sinners’ club and while I don’t have many set scenes with them lots of the transition scenes and background acting will be with these characters. The first thing Sian, Emma and I wanted to do was create character profiles for each of us which we felt would help differentiate us from one another rather than just being ‘the three waitresses’. We used the factual information we already had from the songs we were in and the lines we had in scenes to help us put these together, rather than just coming up with anything. I think Emma found this slightly frustrating as the character type she originally wished to play wasn’t necessarily doable with what was implied in her lines in some of the songs; however we managed to work together to loom through the lyrics in ‘Bring on the Men’ and the other scenes she is in to help her create a character that made sense and she was happy to play.
As Emma’s main song is ‘Bring on the men’ we picked apart the lyrics in her opening section and came to the conclusion that she would be the nicer girl out of the three of us and the one that most men tend to take of advantage of as she is quite fragile and passive and a bit of a doormat. Sian, Emma and I decided that Sian and I are singing Bring on the Men as a way of encouraging her to let go and have more fun in her life and not be afraid of what might happen.
Sian sings a song called ‘I want to be seduced’ and is also in a short scene from ‘Shopping and Fucking’, as well as ‘Bring on the Men’ and so we deduced that Sian’s character was probably fitting of the slutty waitress stereotype. When divvying up the verses and lines in ‘Bring on the Men’ we looked for lines that would suit Sian’s flirtatious character the most and used our discoveries to help build a stronger outline for her character.
Jack decided that he is going to give Sian, Emma and I (waitresses) the first verse of saint jimmy’s (Jack’s opening song) to set up the idea of us all being a team working together in the club. We wanted to show that all the staff at the club got on well and acted almost like a tight knit family who were working together for the same goal, rather than creating conflict between the characters – as also there will be an awful lot of conflict happening throughout the rest of the show. Jack wanted to show this by having his character of Saint Jimmy to appear quite protective over his three waitresses.
I found it quite difficult to start with to pin down a specific character as I felt I was in so many different pieces throughout the show that didn’t necessarily work or fit together logically in terms of a through story line, however after analysing the text and talking to the other characters I am on stage with and share scenes with I managed to piece something together that makes sense in my head.
- My character is called Rose (referenced in ‘Come to a party’ song) and is first and foremost a waitress who works at the ‘Saints and Sinners’ club.
- I am in a broken relationship with Harry’s character (Edward) who is also one of the Posh boys and attends the club on a regular basis.
- Harry’s character had been cheating on me for a long while with Lou’s character (Jane) and I know it and although I’m technically still with him I now have a huge resentment towards men and love.
- I have become a big feminist and strong willed character as I can’t stand being hurt or treated badly again.
- Tom’s character (who I sing ‘Come to a party’ with) is also one of the Posh boys and makes a bet with Harry that he can get me to go out with him regardless of her history with Harry etc. and Harry smugly agrees as he has a new girlfriend after all.
- I end up agreeing to going on the date just to shut Tom up and as an opportunity to rub it in Harry’s character face.
Sian: lulu – flirty and fun in the job for the boys mainly
Emma: Claire – sweet, people pleaser, weak willed, doormat, boring and can’t let go and have fun. Too careful. People take advantage of her.
Beth: Rose – strong willed, anti men, treated badly by men, husband has had an affair and she knows it, doesn’t want to be messed around or hurt again. Complicated relationship.
Saint Jimmy: Protective over his waitresses. Chilled. Authoritative. Respected.