Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Just a tad Fawlty.

My second play for the Newport Playgoers was a stage version of the much loved sitcom from the 1970's, " Fawlty Towers". We, as a company put on stage three of the twelve televised episodes. "Hotel Inspectors" , "Communication Problems" and "The Germans" I was originally asked to be one of the Hotel Inspectors, as well as one of The Germans. So I had the task of actually speaking in German, and making it as convincing as possible. Without a voice coach I think I did very well, and after watching and listening to "The Germans" episode many times over, I eventually got it all pretty accurate.

 I was then asked to play Terry the Chef in "Communication Problems". Wearing the most attractive Chefs attire immaginable.
However with three very different parts in the bag for three different staged episodes. Two other parts were thrown in there two. A Taxi Driver, and that of a Hotel Guest. So in all, five very different roles.

To have five very differant roles, was quite a task to undertake, regardless of how big the characters are, or how long they are on stage for. So in order to have a contrast between each of them, I, as an actor would have to look at differant characteristics, mannerisms and of course accents. All this goes without saying. However to help me with this I resorted to a technique that helped me with other elements of the characters I was portraying. I forget now what the name of the technique was,as my studies were years ago and my notes from that time are safely boxed up. However, I digress, this technique I studied, help an actor build the characters foundations, and how the character looked externally. Whether the character was direct in his movement, or not, whether he was hunched / arched  or straight in structure / form and also whether he was heavy or light on his feet. These are the strong elements of a character that make the actor stand out to an audience, they also highlight the emotions of the character and the characters persona.. And if you take time to people watch (ahem, not stalking, as some people would call it, That would be just wrong. ), you can actually see all this in every passer by. It really is an amzing actors tool to use, and very effective.

The set for "Fawlty Towers" was quite possibly one of the best sets I have ever worked on, on stage. The set designers and director worked with great attention to detail.So much in fact that it was almost a replica of the set used on Television. The lead actors were a pleasure to work with and with the help of a debut director, made carbon copies of the characters that we are familiar with on TV.
"Fawlty Towers" I believed to be a production that helped me re-develop as an actor. Made me focus on other elements of characters. How a character is formed, and how they can contrast from each other.

All in all a remarkable journey.


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