Wednesday, 3 July 2013

#NTCFest - Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy

Photo by Simon Annand (C) 2013

Written By Alex Bird

Coming back to start rehearsals again was great, it was amazing to see the whole cast back together again for one last run at The National. After a congratulatory applaud from everyone for getting so far and a quick catch up we got to work. The new National Theatre space, The Shed, works on a thrust meaning it’s a lot more intimate and stripped back so a lot of the set would not come with us to The National. This also meant everything had to be re-blocked for the new stage. The challenge seemed daunting, having to re-work a show we were so used to minus the set; it was hard to imagine what the finish product would be. We are now closer to the show date than ever and the show feels at its best. The thrust stage means more reason to move and explore, which we didn't have the luxury of before. Also, by Jonathan Harvey ‘s wishes, we changed a few things we set before making the whole play feel more fresh and exciting. Truly this will be the best performance yet.

The National is really a space actor’s dream of performing in and with this being my second time taking part in connections, being here is all the more exciting. I even remember my director from Gargantua (By Carl Grose) saying two years ago “Even I haven’t been to The National” showing what a big deal it is. I think for myself it didn't sink in as quickly as it did for others. My big realisation was having Jonathan Harvey, The National and The Press coming down to see the show all come together. I really got to see how lucky we are to be where we are and how they cared for our show like they would any other professional show, it was a nice feeling as well as an eye opener to how big the project is. Quoting from The National I expect getting to the theatre will be like a military operation, everything planned and ready so it runs smoothly, but it will also be incredible standing on that stage for the first time and taking it all in. 

I have really enjoyed being a part of the show, working with a professional director and being back at Lost has been so exciting for me. What I most looked forward to with this play was the challenge of playing a gay character in the modern day and staging the fight scenes. Both of these new challenges have really helped me grow as an actor, amongst other experiences in this process. I had mixed emotions about the fight scene. I was always excited to try stage combat for the first time but as the victim of the assault I was always worried of possibly being hurt. Funnily enough it was I that did most the damage by not falling properly, which showed me how safe everything was and I didn't need to worry, but after a little more help from our fight director the scene was soon one of the best in the show. What I did find difficult was realising some faults in my speech and movement that needed work, but I am hugely grateful as I am able to grow and improve from leaving this show with knowledge of how to articulate and work in a space. I could go on and on about how challenging this play was but with each challenge was a success and I hope that will come across in our final performance.

With only a week to go I can only hope that this will lead me on to more discoveries into myself as an actor, but this experience has really helped me realise my potential and what I can achieve if I work hard enough for it.

Alex played Darren in Tomorrow I'll By Happy by Jonathan Harvey on Wednesday 5 July 2013, in The Shed, National Theatre

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