All work and no play…

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One of the things I hear very often when casting a play is “I’d love to but I’ve got exams and I have to revise”. Of course you do. Exams are important. But we’re coming to the end of exam season soon and there will be vast expanses of free time to be filled.

Coincidentally, we at The Kent Shakespeare Company still have a few small parts that need to be filled. So, if you might like to spend some time in the great outdoors, you’re the right age and gender to play a fairy and you’re free for the last two weeks of June and the first week of July then get in touch. Leave a comment here, or email guy@kentshakespeare.co.uk

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Casting woes / casting delights

I’ve been a bit remiss in recent months about updating this website. Back at the beginning of the year we held audition for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and managed to cast most of the parts.

Since then, people have broken bones, lost jobs, moved to new jobs and all manner of other things meaning cast changes and shuffles galore. As of now, though, we’re up to a full complement of principles and, with only a few minor roles left to fill, rehearsals are well under way.

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that this spring has not been entirely without rain! I have, however, dangled some seaweed from my window and I’m pretty confident that the late June and early July are going to be bright, warm and -above all – warm.

With that in mind, you might want to buy tickets. Click the link at the top of the page to buy online.

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Audition 2012

Here we go again…

The auditions for the 2012 production – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – will be held on Sunday 29th January at 2pm at the Arden Theatre, Faversham.

We welcome people who have acted with us before, people who have acted with other groups before and people who have never acted before but think they might like it.

Audition pieces will be available on the day or feel free to prepare something from the Dream.

If you can’t make the 29th, but still want to be considered please contact Guy on 07811 629894 or guy@kentshakespeare.co.uk

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Sheep – Named!

Many thanks to the literally hundreds some of you who entered our Name The Sheep competition.

Quite a few raised a smile, some a frown of blank incomprehension. My favourite – the one that actually made me laugh audibly – was Uriah. So congratulations to Duncan (aka Capt. Mintsauce) who wins a pair of tickets for the peformance of his choice.

In a spirit of complete disclosure I should probably say that Duncan is a good friend, a man I’ve know for years and godfather to my son. For anyone who wants to cry foul over this I offer you this small salve to your disappointment – for a period of at least 12 hours from when this is published (and possibly longer), you can use the code URIAH on the buy tickets page to get a whopping 50% off the usual purchase ticket price.

What are you waiting for?

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Fight, fight, fight.

Stage combat can be difficult. There’s a fine line between keeping it safe and making it realistic. I have personal experience of what can go wrong having received a broken finger in a sword fight against Michael Wrate (before he says anything – yes, it was my fault).

So, for the As You Like It wrestling match we engaged the services of someone with proper stage combat qualifications to give us some ideas. See Ben’s previous post for more details.

To see the final outcome you’ll be eager to buy tickets, but here’s a little taster:

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Name the sheep competition

Win tickets to this year’s show.

A pair of shiny tickets for any of our performances between the 15th and 25th of June can be won by giving a name to our sheep.

Leave your choice of name in the comments below before midnight on the 31st May. The name that amuses me most will be declared the winner. Get to it…

Update: Comments now closed. Winner to be announced soon.

Posted in As You Like It 2011, KSC | 10 Comments

Rehearsal Fun

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Oliver de Bois – Played by Phil Mace – gets him comeuppance at the hands of Celia and Rosalind.

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RSC Open Stages

Hello all,

The KSC elves have asked me to enter my thoughts and opinions on the recent RSC Open Stages session that I attended. For those of you who are unaware, the RSC Open Stages is an amateur Theatre outreach programme that the RSC have introduced. As an amateur theatre company who are putting on a show this calendar year, we were eligible to apply to become part of the Open Stages ‘family’. This entitles us to use the RSC logo on our posters, attend the various classes they run, and enter a filmed version of our production to the RSC in the hope of being selected to perform it on a larger stage.

The performers class took place at the Questors Theatre, Ealing, West London and featured seminars in voice and text, acting and movement. I found all three of the classes extremely helpful in my understanding of performing Shakespeare and I will try to summarize some of the best bits.

Voice and Text: Curiously enough, the gentleman taking this seminar is an alumnus of KCP (the predecessor of KSC) and performed at Mount Ephraim alongside Bob Fearnside and Michael Wrate in ‘Love’s Labours Lost’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ many, many moons ago. The primary lesson he gave was in removing what he called the ‘acting gene’ and making the text seem as vibrant and natural as possible, rather than treasuring it as an ancient manuscript to be worshipped. He also made the point of starting out with a character by exploring the words through an array of bizarre exercises and letting the character come from them, rather than laying one on top of them. He maintains that characterization is the final part of the process, after the lines have been thoroughly ransacked by voice and action to squeeze the meaning out, rather than intelectualising it too much.

Acting – the acting class focused mainly on naturalism techniques and cited Stanislavski and Meisner as its two greatest exponents. The emphasis was on the concept of only reacting if there was a reason to and not being afraid to stand still, looking like a lemon. The tutor described the process of acting in a play as the movement of energy from one source to another. If you act, the energy is released by the reaction, counter reaction and so forth.

Movement – in movement, I was able to take the opportunity to switch to a class in stage combat (endlessly useful for the wrestling scene), where I learned a variety of simple yet effective stage moves: punches, slaps, strangling and hair pulling. More importantly, I learned the principle behind creating effective stage combat in terms of how to disguise things and how to make the most out of as few moves as possible for the audience’s enjoyment.

To briefly conclude, the primary message was that ‘it’s not rocket science!’ If you take the time, use what time you have effectively and think about how best to use your resources then putting on a decent quality Shakespeare play is not impossible. It is important to work with the text as freely, naturally and enthusiastically as possible and not to either be scared ofit or revere it.

So no one say anything nice about the script for As You Like It!

Ben

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Podcast 002 – 22nd April 2011

More news in audio format. You don’t even need to read – just press the play button.

Click play below, or download for your mp3 player.

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Abbott & Costello, written by Shakespeare

I can’t make up my mind about this one. It’s certainly clever and well written, but does it add anything to the Abbott & Costello original?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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