This week has been all about Ensemble Theatre, with some very interesting exercises thrown into the mix.

I think the class that appealed the most to me this week was the Neutral Mask.  We spend a lot of time in the youth theatre trying to convince the young actors (and their parents!) that showing off is not the same as acting, and that the two actually couldn't be more far apart.  The neutral mask was a great way to show this and to get the actors to stop trying to be different from one another, to stop trying to stand out and to work together to create something that is fresh, interesting and universal. I really liked watching some of the actors struggle with this concept, and was glad to see that almost all of them had 'got' it by then end of the class, stripping aside their ego and 'showmanship' to provide completely neutral motions (such as running down a pier, spotting a boat with your loved ones on it and then waving them a final goodbye before walking back down the jetty).

We have also started digging our teeth into our first ensemble project, with the class being split in two and each group being designated two directors each.  I think it's fair to say that Emily and I felt thrown into the deep end but it has been a lot of fun and the group seems to be working really well together, our role isn't as defined as I'm used to and that has been interesting.  By then end of the week I doubt anyone in the class could say where the ideas we are using had originated.

We are working towards a heavily edited performance of Euripide's Women of Troy (the other group are working on a Ravenhill modern version).  So far we have worked on the opening scene and created an interesting movement section for a song which I wrote (using the text).  We have a whole week of rehearsal coming up for this, and I'm really looking forward to it.  The biggest change that I have to get used to is the length of the day.  I'm used to 75 minute rehearsals where everything is fast paced and exciting, sparking off the kids ideas and moving forward really fast.  We have around 7 hour days now, so I need to try and calm down a bit - otherwise me, and the actors, will be totally knackered!

All good fun, and looking forward to our presentation to invited guests on the Friday.


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