A Personal Stoop to Conquer Story

 
Success consists of getting up 
just one more time than you fall.

Oliver Goldsmith



I have Oliver Goldsmith on the brain. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

18th Century Mannerisms I seem to soak up from every rehearsal these past few weeks.  

I've ended up hearing it and seeing it over and over again in my sleep

I read a C.S. Lewis book and I hear fellow cast members' voices with a hint of Irish

So it has been a little tricky to write up a new entry of a new venture I'm in. Let alone looking for another artist to interview and expose - or recount my previous adventure with my team at Notte Bianca five months ago.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017
 
Then I come across the quote pasted above and convinced of the subject that has lingered over my head to reflect upon ever since I've been made part of the Ensemble for MADC's production of She Stoops to Conquer.

I always sensed it in me to be active in theatre.  
As an actor I had officially started out 
- without the politics of favouritism at school
at the GCHSS Drama Troupe. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

I grew and stepped well into each performance for five years.



As I got into University,
 I went through the frustrating period 
of facing after every audition 
one rejection after another. 

One: I got the sensation one has to 'get there' 
by being recommended 
by word of mouth 
through friends in theatre scene, 
and I have seen plenty of that while I was doing the course.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017


Second: Most of those auditions, 
anxiety inducers as they were at the start, 
felt like going into an interview 
or facing a 'justice of the peace'

 - Ah! Dang! Again! 
(slight chuckle)

- that is, they didn't have that one-to-one workshop feel of gaining feedback and re-trying.

It was only later 
through advice from genuine acquaintance 
with a fellow more experienced actor and practitioner 

that I learned  . . . . 

Auditions need to be approached as performance podium. 


It is not about the impossible task of getting into the director's head to be as close to what they might have had in mind of the character. 

It is about presenting your potential
your abilities as an actor,

your personal view and portrayal of the character
 as well as your personification of said character 

being the end result of getting familiar with their language, 
analysing the nature of the text  
and forming the person.Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

From that frustration of trying and retrying, along with that revelation  
I went to perform, not 'audition'. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Where I was lucky to get an open one-to-one with the director i took advantage of that
Where it wasn't, it was merely performing to one audience member. 

The progression became such that I got comfortable in the process and mindset of performing rather than mere presenting, exercising my acting muscles I've had for over 10 years. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

That process served me well even currently in rehearsals for She Stoops to Conquer.
I learn even more by picking up personal tactics and method acting from fellow cast members and director
Yet what makes it even  more fruitful is the comradeship formed.

My character in the play is small, 
but it is enough to socialise, 
befriend 
and re-acquaint. 

The intervals between each scene is never dull. 
A hub of bizarre-ness and humour that never tired me. 

The conversations jump from a Whovian debate of who really was the best companion, 
to recounting funny one-liners.

And just yesterday Malcolm went and got a Baci chocolate bar, places a tag written Prize to give to the one who least mucks up their lines in both acts. Playfully dragging it away and back in response to an actor or two blanking out, responded by chuckles at getting distracted by this 'carrot'. Minor characters didn't count for the challenge, as a few abruptly protested at my asking. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Being in the production also got me grabbing my camera for inspiration. 
I have found, as I did in Merchant of Venice 
that the best photographs to take 
come about among the cast during rehearsals.

- - - - 

Fact: The main concept of the mistake of a night was inspired by what happened to Goldsmith personally in his childhood. Given a guinea at school, he decided to spend it at an inn. He asked a passer-by, Cornelius Kelly, to direct him to the 'best house' - the best inn. As it also meant the best house of a good reputable family, Kelly pointed him to 'the best house'.  

It wasn't until Oliver had dinner with the 'innkeeper' and the 'barmaid' his daughter, 
went up to bed, 
ordered breakfast in bed in the morning, 
and asked for the bill 

that he realised his mistake.

 - - - -

I am glad to have got back treading the stage. After 3 years directing, it's good to take a breather, be given this opportunity in one of my favourite plays and scene in said play. Directing gives that sense of independence from those many rejections and exercise the muscles of another expression of creativity. But those, I believe, can only be well-obtained in being an actor first. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

One other thing I remember from my Drama Troupe years is that in the public performances it is always best to start off small before progressing later to complex parts.

It does take a sense of stooping, starting out small, keeping oneself grounded, to build up and . . . "sigh" conquer. Copyright © Diandra A. 2017

Well, it's a form of conquering oneself. Making sure among other things I don't get big-headed, though for now all I've been doing is offering and asking if anyone needs an extra hand with their lines.

It's stooping to gain further experience. 

I have a good feeling of where I'm at right now. Pimple the Maid in this production, step by step, more and more characters, plays and people to acquaint with.