Monday, May 18, 2009

My 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle' Blog

It’s about time I should blog about ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ which played to about 400 people between Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th May 2009 at The Tower Street Theatre in Belfast Metropolitan College. For me blogging is good therapy, so let the therapy session begin.

At the start most of us (including me) were disappointed about the news of a large cast of 27 people, made up of students from the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma 2nd years to create a Final Major Project production which ended up being Frank McGinness version of ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’.

The reason I think most of us were precious about the FMP is because of each of our classes. For us we have been through so much hell for a long amount of time, which finally ended in the early rehearsals for this production. It’s fair to say it feels like were survivors from an awful horror movie and that experience has made us a close group. It took time but our two groups united without too much trouble going on once scenes were finally learnt and blocked.

About the show, it features post-war arguments from rival factions of civilians; a romance of a servant girl and a soldier; cleaver uses of bamboo sticks from creating a bridge, carrying a deceased governor, making a terrifying drumbeat, forming a river that I never got exactly correct; fantastic masks that define characters personalities and some pretty nifty tunes you can’t get out of your head once you hear them.

It was an Ensemble piece and you’re given a fair amount of characters, lines and movements to create, perform and define in your opinion of Brecht’s style. At times you could grumble at the amount you were given, but it’s up to you as an actor to stand out from the crowd. It’s up to the audience to judge if myself or the rest of the cast achieve this goal who attended the four performances, but I hope we did a fantastic job.

For everyone ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ was a once in a lifetime chance to work with a huge cast. A couple of us might be lucky enough to work for The Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre or whenever the new Lyric Theatre decides to open its gates again to experience the chance of a huge cast again. Who knows if any of us will work with each other in another performance after this but as Northern Ireland is still a small industry, the chance is pretty high.

I’m proud of our cast and being a member of this production. We all have bright futures whatever paths we decide to follow and it would be an honour to work with anyone of this talented bunch. If I’m ever given the chance to make that happen one day, I know several actors you can trust with any production whether it’s theatre, film or TV. But right now it’s just a dream destined to be reality.

For the show after parties, we went to the Limelight on Thursday and the Student Union on Friday. Everyone had a good time (from what I remember) and the experience of those nights is a story in itself. Didn’t realize it was a school disco night at the Limelight but I haven’t been much of a fan since Halloween when the bouncers weren’t the nicest people in the world and got scared off.

When you think about it that’s pretty stupid to not go to a place because of people thinking their God and can do whatever they want. But the school disco was pretty fun even if I wasn’t in costume. By pretty fun what i really mean is ‘fun in dizzy town’. Keeping balance several times, forgetting who turn up later on that night and drinking plenty of water. A bit curious to see what the pictures that were took that night look like, but I regret nothing and I had a good time

We all had to take down the set, fix the curtains, paint the theatre floor, tidy up the dressing rooms, clean costumes and return props the next morning and I believe I did pretty alright with what I needed to complete. After making a bit of a complaint in town which I hope gets sorted soon, it was on to Friday night or what shall be called ‘After Party 2 – Crawling Back to the Drink’.

One thing I realize before we heading to the Student Union (was meant to be The Parlour but plans do change) is that while not mentioning names, it’s pretty well clear that the secret is out and any concerns I had about people knowing this secret about liking this person shouldn’t keep me back, but it’s still going to be tough to say it before time runs out, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

My honest thoughts about the Union are what’s the big deal about it, but I guess it’s a good night out when it's a different night of the week. It would have been great to go to The Parlour again (was there for my Birthday last year... June 5th, mark the date in your calenders) but I liked the people I was hanging out with and liked a couple of people when they weren’t so loud for a few brief moments during the night. This night did felt like the time for secrets to be confessed and I’ll admit I wish certain people could’ve made Friday Night but the night was a true experience.

We then had a nice relaxing chat at Liam’s house that lasted most of the night. The highlights of the talking were we agreed it would be a good idea to buy Michaela CD’s for her birthday and that the words ‘When You’re Gone’ goes fantastic with any song. How that lasted the whole night i have no idea as I slowly walked back home to Elms at 9am, though walking over sleeping people on the floor did felt like I was in an episode of Skins, but again a good time had by all.

It’s left me with some grown-up decisions to make. I’m a child at heart but that’s simply who I am as I’m looking into my future with wonder. As I know what I want to become and how to achieve it but the question is who I want to be there by my side.