Progression Evening 19th October 2016
After watching my performance footage back I feel I have a much better understanding of the areas that I need to work on to make my performance and character portrayal more natural and emotive, to make sure I have a well rounded and truthful performance ready for my upcoming drama school auditions.
In my past feedback at audition class I have been told that I need to feel more connected and emotional rather than just churning out a well rehearsed and competent delivery of a monologue. I think I fell in to this trap in the first place as I have been working in the monologue for quite a long time now and I almost was no longer processing what the character was saying as I had gotten so used to presenting the same portrayal that I rehearsed many months ago. While the decisions were fresh and still had the thought process behind them when I first learnt the monologue, the more I have done it the more disconnected I have become from these. In order to move forward I think I need to talk through the intentions and actions behind the sentences and think back to why I decided to say each line in a particular way originally. I’m hoping this will refresh the text and remind me of the decisions behind the staging and expression of the monologue, that got ironed out throughout the rehearsal and learning process.
After watching the video back, it is clear to me that I ease into the monologue and consequently it gets much stronger and more believable as it goes on. I think this was partially nerves and the fact that I hadn’t done the monologue in a while and so wasn’t as connected to it as I could have been and therefore I was not truly in the character. I noticed this particularly from my body language as at the beginning I had very ‘Beth-like’ mannerisms still, for example I had my legs folded over which is definitely a subconscious mistake rather than a conscious characterisation decision. Normally I would play the part with very open body language and be quite engaged in the sense that I would learn further forward in my chair as a way of enhancing the connection with the audience in a intimidating manner. I can tell that I must have had this realisation soon into the performance as I manage to adapt my body language to suit my character, Charlotte, and adopted an open boyish stance in my chair and held myself more strongly. I think it would be beneficial for me to get into character a little before I go into the audition room, so I can start getting used to moving and holding myself like the character before performing the monologue – just to ensure I keep it up throughout the entire monologue and don’t let nerves get the better of me!
I was generally pleased with my performance, and have always felt I connected with the chosen monologue well and I definitely have a good understanding of the plot and my characters position in the story, as well as feeling like I have a real insight into Charlotte, to the point that I can imagine her as a real person as opposed to just a name and a bit of text. I think I am starting to make the character come to life through my movement and body language, alongside my vocal work. Although I do think this is an area I could afford to work on more in order to present Charlotte as a character that is separate to me and my own personality and voice. While I think I have captured the tone, intonation and accents in the speech well and in a manner that is different from my own passive tone of voice and speech quality, I do stand by the fact that I probably could work on accent to portray the characters poor, rough upbringing. To do this I just need to roughen up the vowels and look at dropping various constants such as ‘t’s’ and ‘h’s’, as well as possibly replacing ‘th’s’ with ‘f’s’ and adding glottal stops. This is so different to my usual voice and while I know the dialect of a character is important, especially when it portrays the class and status of the character; I personally think the most important part of voice work is to think of how it would change according to the inner factors of the character rather than just external factors. I definitely think this is something I thought abut when rehearsing and exploring the piece and I can see it came across in my performance.
By simply changing my voice, it coincidentally coincided with the changes in my facial expressions. I noticed that I moved my head a lot when playing the character in an almost accusation or taunting way that showed the attitude and toughness of Charlotte. While in my normal life as Beth I would usually articulate with my hands a lot to emphasis my point, when playing Charlotte I have made most of her expression come from the movement of my head and eyebrows. I’m not sure if this was a conscious decision originally, however I have definitely explored this further since becoming aware of it and think it really helps create the character in a way that is so different to the real me!I think even from watching it back on the video I can tell that the work I had done on this came across (especially on the bits Erica zoomed in on and you could clearly see all the facial characterisation).
When doing this performance I tried to take on board some of the feedback given to me about showing more connected emotion and I thought that in the rawer more emotional section of the monologue – when Charlotte is talking about her Mum – I showed a much more truthful emotional connection to what she was saying and how she would react to the responses she got. I didn’t want to do this in a false or forced way, so I thought about the fact that Charlotte often refrains from showing emotion and tries to seem tough and grown up, whereas on the inside she is very fragile – therefore she would likely snap out of any emotional moment quickly or try and hide it in fear of looking weak. I worked at retreating back into my shell by closing off my body language, finally losing eye contact (which I kept intensely throughout the rest of the piece), lent back on my chair away from the ‘councillor’ and lowered the volume of my voice, to try and show her true vulnerability. Although I feel I had improved on this from the last few times I had performed the piece in rehearsal, I feel I can still go a lot further and should play with what reactions work best to achieve the most truthful and powerful reaction. The way in which I switched from withdrawn and vulnerable to the feisty anger when snapping the line, “‘Cause she wouldn’t even look at you..and now she’s dead….and don’t even try and comfort me”, really captured this well and showed the mood change and wow she feels she needs to put up this cold, tough exterior as a front to protect her from becoming hurt.