Monday, 18 February 2013

Well WELL.  This promises to be a lot more interesting than I had feared!  We had the concept speech for Onegin today, so from now on it's all go.  I've just about got the words nailed (although some of them currently feel about as safe as nailing jelly to a tree) and have sung through the role enough times to feel vocally secure (it's not that it's at all a difficult sing, it simply doesn't sit where my voice blooms naturally, so have had to work on keeping my voice even throughout the registers).

I have to admit, however, that I was a little - no, a lot - nervous about portraying this character.  What I tend to do really well is stand on stage and scare people.  Or cast spells on them, or seduce them, or any combination of the above.  I'm fairly tall, and I hold myself naturally pretty upright.  Which is great if you're cast as the regal lead role - and an interesting challenge if you're portraying the old nanny at the end of a life of servitude.

I had been playing around with ways of showing age without "showing" age (and naturally still being open and relaxed enough to sing properly), wondering exactly how old the director would want me to be, and hoping desperately that he wouldn't simply say "Right.  Sweet and doddery old retainer - GO!" and concentrate entirely on the leads (it's in my opinion unprofessional but, erm, has been known on occasion!).

Now I can relax, and breathe, and launch myself into what, with the right support, will indeed be a very exciting challenge.  The director had some great ideas for the whole piece, and had evidently thought very thoroughly indeed about how each and every character fitted in.  Funny how you instinctively relax when you realise the person in charge knows exactly what they're doing.  And just how quickly that realisation sets in.

So.  What he wants from me is an old woman whose mind is starting to fray but who is trying not to let it show (apart from anything else, she's terrified that if she's no use any more, she'll simply be chucked out by the family.  Historically not an unreasonable fear.).  Total vulnerability.  No over-the-top wandering around with outstretched arms looking mad, no wild-eyed panic (shame, I'm not bad at that!), no explicit "Ooh look - dementia!".  Nope.  This is going completely against physical and mental type, and doing so subtly and to the side of the stage.

The journey begins!  Wish me luck...

1 comment:

  1. That works awesomely... Time to prove yourself as an actor grrrl