Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I love it.

My A2 Drama performance was on Tuesday night. It was a devised piece that my group and I had been creating since October last year. The piece was called “The Only Constant”, supposedly referring to change being the only constant in life; I had typed “Change is...” into Google to see what it came up with, and “The Only Constant” was the best I found. Our piece featured strobe lighting, some swearing, lots of screaming, violence and death scenes.
I have never ever put that much effort and energy into anything. We had a group talk beforehand and one of my friends said “Let’s just go for it. Really really go for it, yeah?” Our teacher then said she’d put our performance last in the running order because she knew we’d make an excellent finale – because we were the best. She also told us it would be our last ever Drama performance (that is assessed for our final grade). That put the rocket up my arse (as my teacher puts it). There was some backstage diffidence and last-minute nerves from everyone, but I was jumping up and down and raring to go. The lights went down onstage and the music started: “Smack My Bitch Up”, nice and loud. We ran onstage backwards and into a tight group formation and danced like our lives depended on it.

The big practitioners such as Stanislavski and Brecht believe that a truly great actor will do a performance, be outstanding, receive a standing ovation, then walk offstage and not remember a thing. The only way to tell if you are really deeply in character is to test your memory of the performance afterwards. I remembered the beginning, and my scene, and the end, but that was it. When I’m asked “what did that scene mean?” and “why did he/she do that?” I only know because we spent months forming and rehearsing the piece; I’m not 100% sure how it happened on the night. Yeah, this all sounds like bullshit, but it’s true.

When it was all over, the lights came fully up and we came on to take our bow, staring into the glare of the spotlights and all the happy, surprised, shocked, proud and amazed faces of the audience; all on their feet, clapping and cheering. Our teacher was crying, nodding and giving us a thumbs-up. I couldn’t stop grinning. I was covered in smeared face paint, my hair had fallen out of its tight bun, and my clothes were clinging to my skin with sweat. I’d twisted my ankle; one of my friends had a bleeding lip, another had a dislocated thumb, another had a giant bruise forming on his leg. I haven’t been able to walk properly for 2 days (walking down stairs is excruciating to do, but hilarious to watch, apparently) and I’m getting a migraine from all the stress I’ve been under. I also have to write a massive piece of pretentious coursework today on what the performance actually meant. I don’t care though; it was all worth it, just to feel that rush, experience that standing ovation and see my Drama teacher’s face.
This is what I want to do.

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