Wednesday, December 06, 2006


So, my eight week acting course has come to an end. It finished on Monday night and it feels like the end of the run of a play. We had 10 students all up, but one woman never came back after her first session. Wonder if she got a refund. I never missed a class. See, I can commit from time to time...

Week One

I had an invitation to the 40th Anniversary party for the ABC's kids' show, Play School. Yes, something I was really looking forward to. But after saying I'd attend I had to bow out gracefully as the celebration clashed with week one of my course. I found out the next day that hardly any of the presenters I was looking forward to gawking at were in attendance anyway, so I felt better about choosing not to go. Besides, I had a great night in class. The first director had us for the first two weeks. I was surprised how easily the feeling of knowing what to do returned. It felt like I hadn't been away from a performance situation at all. In reality it had been about 14 years. Crikey. The group was a balanced mix of males n females (4:5). I was nervous before that first class - what if I was a crap performer after all this time blah blah blah

We were all pretty much at a similar level and they were a friendly bunch to get to know. Most of our exercises involved improvisations and interpreting text. It was a fresh approach for me and I felt the old magic kick in, which means I got a bit of a buzz out of the possible ways of interpreting the written word and my ability to make stuff up on the spot

Week Three

We had a new director who came in for three weeks. He had a different approach, this time making us aware of physical aspects of performance. Once again the class clashed with something I'd really been looking forward to. A couple of weeks earlier I'd won tickets to see the Griffin Theatre adaptation of my favourite book, Holding the Man. I couldn't believe it when it finally dawned on me I couldn't go to see the play. Then the season sold out. It's coming back for a three week season during the Mardi Gras festival next year, but hopefully I'll get to see it this Monday night (they've still got a few tix left for pay-what-you-can punters, but I'll have to queue early). On week four a group of us went for a drink after class. It was the right time and a good opportunity for some of us to meld. Later that night after most people had gone home I ended up boozing with two of my fellow acting students at the Courthouse Hotel at Taylor Square. It was fun. The next night I switched on the telly and there was one of my acting-cum-late-night-drinking buddies doing a guest stint in Home & Away. Very good performer too

Week Six

We got our third director, someone whose plays I've seen and loved over the past few years here in Sydney. I was so excited. When I walked into the rehearsal room I noticed the sunlight coming through the window was forming a rainbow across the floor from the director to where I stood. Ooh, that's a good sign. What a dynamic director. I imagined myself being mesmerised to the point of falling in love - creative types do that to me sometimes. But this caught me off guard, particularly because the director's female. I soon got over it and resumed a professional attitude. The next day I bumped into her at an obscure cafe just around the corner from my house. At the time I'd been thinking about my potential future as an actor. Hmmm

Week seven and I was given a script to learn for week 8. It was the first time I'd had to commit words to memory for ages. A few days after week 7's class I once again bumped into the director at a local cafe. Another good sign, shirley. So then we get to last Monday night. I performed the piece with a fellow actor and it went as well as expected. I stuffed up a line or two, but it didn't matter, we covered up and got on with the job. We got a great reaction from our audience too (the director and other classmates) - we got lots of laughs (for all the right reasons). This bit took me by surprise

After the class, where everyone did inspiring work, it was time to celebrate. Another fun night where once again I ended up boozing at the Courthouse Hotel with my two co-stars from the previous time - a fitting conclusion...

I've thought about what I got out of my experience and I've thought about what I might do next... I think I've got a sense of comedy and timing that can be put to good use somewhere, somehow. I need to work on my voice. Too many years of smoking and I've not completely fucked it up, but it has been damaged. Plus I'm out of practice. Good thing I quit smoking just over a year ago. There's still time to do some worthwhile repair work. The other thing I got out of the class is a whole new bunch of friends. I feel good about my prospects


Anonymous jexy said...

Playschool presenter mmmm....let me guess......Andrew McFarlane?

December 06, 2006 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nash,
You did tell us all about your 8-week acting course just like you’d said you would! It sounds like it was a fantastic learning experience for you and that you’ve gained a lot of confidence in being able to perform before an audience again. Judging from your posts and a lot of your comments on others blogs, you do have a great sense of humor, so it only seems natural that you should consider going into comedy. It also appears that you’ve set the groundwork for some new friendships, which is good.

How’d you quit smoking? You mentioned your voice was mucked up from years of cancer sticks; do you experience shortness of breath when delivering lines, and/or has the timbre changed dramatically? I’ve been a smoker for years, and have quit several times, for a week or two, and then right back at it. I congratulate you for being able to stick to it, because it isn’t any easy vice to give up.

Thanks for relating a bit about your acting course!

December 07, 2006 4:23 AM  
Blogger nash said...

Hi Jexy,
Yes, Andrew McFarlane (who didn't show up because he's appearing in a play) and sexy Simon Burke!

Hi Miss Litzi,
I quit smoking because I'd decided it was time. That was the first step. Next I read Allen Carr's Easy Way to Quit Smoking - and it worked (and it was easy). I'd been a smoker for 25 years

Glad you enjoyed the post!

December 07, 2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nash,
It was “easy” to quit smoking, after 25 years? I’m going to see if I can obtain Allen Carr’s book from “Amazon” and give it a try. Did you gain much weight? On one of my attempts to quit, I was doing okay but the pounds started piling on quickly. If I’d been eating like a horse, it might’ve a bit easier to accept, but I’d cut back on my food consumption and my weight was still climbing. This is absolutely NO excuse to be smoking (rationalization on my part) but it was a bit depressing….

December 07, 2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger nash said...

Hi ML,
Yes, surprisingly, it really was easy, so long as you have the desire to quit. I put on a bit of weight at first, but for me that was a good thing. I recommend yoga or something similar

December 07, 2006 11:24 AM  

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