Ok, so it’s the end of my second day here at LAMDA on the four-week Shakespeare summer school, or ‘workshop’ as they call it. I’m living in London for the month, renting a room in Finsbury Park, so not only is it a Shakespeare mini adventure, it’s also a London mini adventure. I’m getting used to just cooking for one rather than three (well, two, but my boyfriend eats enough for two people), and having a bit of ‘me’ time in the evenings, which at the moment is a novelty, but I’m sure I will soon be missing my other half and his not-so-tuneful renditions of Les Mis around the flat. He’s probably just enjoying the peace and quiet. And filling it with even louder renditions of Les Mis.
The first day of the ‘workshop’ was occupied with mainly getting to know each other, the staff, and how things work here. After a brief orientation meeting where we received our timetables and a list of the smaller groups we’d be split into (there have to be at least 40 of us on the course – a rather intimidating number to pile into one class!), we went off into our groups and started work on some scene study. The director working with my group is, of course, a wonderfully interesting character, with a colourful theatrical past and, I’m sure, more than a few fascinating stories to tell about the Industry. He seems to possess that other-worldly quality that many creative folk do, his mind floating in and out of the room as he recalls past adventures, or lingers on some element of Shakespeare on which he has a certain wisdom to impart. He also seems wonderfully blunt and with no qualms about telling you if you’re doing a crap job, which I think is absolutely crucial for an actor.
After scene study we had an hour’s lunch, which I spent with a delightful Icelandic girl, and narrowly avoided getting a stitch. We ordered food at a nearby pub but by the time it arrived had no time to eat it and five minutes to get back to the school, so they very kindly popped our meals in little Tupperware and we legged it back to class trying to wolf down our lunch as we went. I can tell you: eating cannelloni with your fingers whilst power walking through Hammersmith is no easy feat!
The afternoon was spent playing games, which although silly at first, you soon realise are actually playing some greater part in your training, mainly helping to sharpen your focus, improve your spatial awareness, and develop quick thinking. We had a fantastic time rediscovering our inner child in a game of tag, and despaired at our lack of coordination in a game I normally call ‘Zip, Zap, Boing’. After classes the school put on a few drinks and nibbles, a lovely little gesture that helped break any remaining ice within the group, and stuffed with flapjack, strawberries and red wine, I made my way home and fell into bed, happy and knackered.
Today’s classes have been more focused, with more scene study work and the first of our historic dance and singing lessons, and tomorrow we set off to Stratford-upon-Avon for an RSC workshop, three plays and a trip to the usual sites, returning on Friday after a meander round Warwick Castle. I shall report back on Friday, this time with pictures!