You’re in a white room without windows or doors and slowly wake up to find two strangers lying near you on the floor…
…Sound like the morning after a crazy night out? Alas no, this was in fact the hypothetical situation our teacher set up for our free-style acting session at the City Academy beginner’s acting taster class.
The session is just over an hour and was held by this trustworthy-looking chap, below, actor and director Guy Michaels at the Unicorn Theatre near London Bridge. At just £10 it’s a great sneak-peak into what to expect of the six-week courses and, more importantly, a way for me to bang out another hobby and try something I’ve been meaning to for some time.There were nine of us and we began with finding the ‘neutral’ stance – good for actors to focus on returning to as often as possible. This ensures your feet are firmly on the ground with three pressure points equally touching the ground (heel, side and ball of each foot), knees unlocked, head centred and shoulders open.
Next, standing in a circle, we focused on a bottle of water. Guy instructed us to randomly count from 1-20 as a group and any time two people said the same number we had to begin again. After a lengthy pause I climbed in with a ‘one’, shortly followed by a ‘two’ and ‘three’ nearby. We made it to seven before the first overlap and began again. After five attempts we made it to 16 and moved on to an object DISassociation game and an impromptu accusation session.
Next we put our chairs in the corner to create a smaller ‘stage’ where three people began acting a scene trapped in a white box where terrible things would happen to them such as the box filling with liquid/the roof closing in. We all had a turn and it was important to not act for an audience; being aware of coming across as entertaining, but instead trying to mentally get into the space and be yourself as if you were really in that scenario. You know, the white-box-roof-closing-in scenario. It was liberating and encouraged you to come more into yourself as the story unfolded.
I haven’t tried acting since school but am aware of the ‘acting like an idiot’ technique that many employ to make you admit that you’re hung up about looking like an idiot in front of others – roaming in circles flapping your arms and chanting etc. I liked the more gentle approach here where it was fun, useful and progressive. I’d definitely try a course and what a splendid way of kicking off a Sunday.
Other courses to try in London, untried: