‘Well behaved women rarely make history’ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. That’s the quote on the little pink journal that has been in my hand every day while I’ve been here. I’ve even considered taking it to the toilet with me, God forbid anyone should unmask my disguise of the ‘ever-efficient note taker’. They might see that its contents are, of course, a collection of important stagey notes taken from the rehearsals of A Brave Face… This goes here, and that goes there… Sean is now thrusting while leaning against a box (Scene 7, ‘Daft Song’) … TEXT RACHAEL “BOOK BAG”…
But more so, that as an aspiring theatre-maker, this journal contains invaluable advice given to me from a company of people I have been lucky enough to share space and time with over the last month.
A myriad of jottings that include answers to some technical questions… What is counter mask? What do Major and Minor mean in mask performance? What is Artistic License? How on earth do you see through those masks? Side note. I tried one on. The answer is, with great difficulty.
Scribbles from snatched conversations… Advice on where to find auditions, observations from the actors in action… How the actors construct the scenes before they then apply ‘buckets to their heads’ (an accurate description from Rachael of what it feels like for the actors to transfer the work to mask for the first time).
Sure, you can Google some of the questions above, or I could share my answers as an example of how informative a Vamos Theatre work placement can be. It isn’t enough for me to just share my notes. Instead, I suggest you get your own journal (cheesy quote optional), and ask if you can come along, then you can ask your own questions directly to the people that make a living, and a life, from doing this work. You might also get advice and guidance that could change the shape of your professional life. Side note. I have.
Amidst these entries are my own more personal accounts of being in the rehearsal room. There are moments of sheer frustration from not having the energy or focus to take much in, or in fact, be useful, due to ill health. Side note. Lemsip can get you physically where you might need to be, but the mental fog that comes with being ill…there is no over-the-counter quick fix.
I have written about gaining incredible insight into a company that is inherently valuable to society (and one day dreaming that my own theatre company can match this level of success), and moments where I have had inspired breakthroughs of what I can do with all my theatrical ambitions. Side note. To just do them…
I suppose a nice way to tie off this blog post would be to reference the quote on the journal in a helpful way for anyone considering a placement here. Something about good behaviour not making you very memorable…? Okay. Be good and polite, but willing to make lots of mistakes which will result in you really learning things. Be able and willing to do more than just turn up. Oh, and take Vitamin C…
This blog post is intended to inspire anyone considering work experience here, and to satisfy James Greaves’ curiosity as to what I write in my journal!