Thursday, October 22, 2009

"It hits your heart. Your lungs. Everywhere."

Holla amigos! This is my second blog so please, bear with me. I'm here to tell all you fine people about the Citizens Theatre Young Co.'s latest production, Lend Me Your Ears, and my own personal thoughts on the performances over the course of the three nights we were performing.

In the beginning, I wasn't very confident in the whole concept. We were to be performing Shakespeare's ''Greatest Hits'' and given the few rehearsals each piece had, I was really worried that we would fumble and taint the Bard's works with idiocy and lack of focus. I feel that Shakespeare's works are the most beautiful and powerful pieces of theatre in existence and I didn't think that we were going to be able to do them the justice they deserved. We had so little rehearsal time, my Romeo and Juliet piece only had three rehearsals before the actual performance nights. I realise this was necessary and all, but it didn't help the great frustration I was feeling. My confidence in the performance was lowered still with the improvised scene: ''Lear Luvies''. I honestly thought that this scene was not funny and that the audience wouldn't laugh. All these things gave me great tension and worry before the actual performance nights.

The first night was quite an experience for me. For many reasons. One being that I was to begin the performance out in the main foyer, which in itself isn't very conventional and was quite nerve racking. I wasn't confident that my voice could fill the hall and that the audience would switch off to mine and Rehanna's performance. These thoughts were racing through my head before we suited up in costumes, and were actually making me really worried. I had to do a massive vocal and body warm-up before the performance to calm me down, if that makes any sense. When I started the performance I couldn't have been more nervous, I jumped up on that chair and saw the whole audience staring at me. I spoke and they listened! They were tuned into the dialogue even if I did have to jump over banisters and run past the audience members. After beckoning them upstairs I felt so much better. When performing the ''Lear Luvies'' scene, the audience loved it! They were in hysterics! In that moment all my worries for the performance dissipated and I knew that we had nailed it.

The second night was even better. I started my Romeo scene and the crowd was bigger! This threw me into overdrive and I really enjoyed myself. I felt like I was back in my starting years, back in secondary school, the first time that rush of adrenaline hits the back of your neck. It hits your heart. Your lungs. Everywhere. The audience loved the whole performance. Every piece, at their end, received a round of applause. It really did feel like the ''Greatest Hits'' of Shakespeare.

The third and final night was the big finale. I was a bit laid back. Maybe too calm but when Chris came off-stage, he was absolutely buzzing! His reaction alone spurred me on and the final night felt like the greatest. With my last piece I fed right off the audience and delivered a very solid and energetic performance, well in my eyes at least. It wasn't just me either. All the cast went all-out with their pieces, knowing full well that after tonight there would be no performance. We were louder, stronger, more energised and were having fun. Actually enjoying the role you have and the time you have on stage is one of the most important parts of being an actor, again this is my opinion, and I can't speak for my fellow performers out there...

In the end, it all came together. The less than desired rehearsal times, the worry of not giving the works we had been handed the proper respect they demanded and indeed my own personal stresses, disappeared when we actually performed. Thanks to the huge amount of talent, commitment and dedication within the company, we rocked the Circle Studio! But more importantly we did the pieces justice and honestly?.....I think Shakespeare himself would be proud!

''We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded in a sleep''
Prospero, The Tempest

Scott McKay (Young Co. member)

See more photos on Flickr.
Photos by Helen Black

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