Hia, I hope you’re all ok? I’m sure some of you felt the same as me this week with some of you finishing school and your exams for the summer or forever; as this week was indeed my last ever week of my University days and my education.
The final performance
My final project started around 5 weeks ago when we met with the profesional director, Ian Rowlands who was going to direct our last performance at University. We were all looking forward to this module as for the last few months we had been stressing over our devised performance, where we had to devise, direct and perform our own performance as a profesional company which was indeed challenging to say the least. So, as this was our last ever performance and we wouldn’t have to take full responsibility of the whole project, just purely enjoying the process of acting in it, we couldn’t wait to get started!
Sarah Kane and 4:48 Psychosis – Background
The director had chosen the drama 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane which is not an easy read in the slightest, but we knew this module wasn’t going to be a ride in the park so we all persevered. Sarah Kane wrote In-yer-face plays which is basically plays to shock the audience to explore themes that are difficult to discuss in public like depression, incest, rape etc. There are some very goorie details in her plays but I strongly recommend that you read them as they are all so well written and it’s quite interesting that nearly all of her plays reflect a part of her life, some could argue. 4:48 is her final play, the one which some argue is her suicide letter, as a few months after she wrote this she was in such a deep state of depression herself, she commited suicide. The drama talks a lot about depression and not being able to belong, to love, to be loved and a lot of other issues.
As I study Drama through the medium of Welsh our performance had to be in the Welsh language, so myself, the director and one of the other students on my course translated it all. This was quite challenging as the play was very poetic and was quite tricky to get the same meaning in Welsh. After the whole play had been translated we were then able to get on our feet and start blocking the scenes. It was very challenging to get the emotion at times as I couldn’t really bring any of my personal experiences into the studio as I had never been depressed. The director then thought that we should bring case studies in of people we know that have suffered from depression to draw from their experiences. This helped a lot as I had a close friend who had suffered from depression, so I based my character on her, after finding out a lot of information on how she felt during and how she dealt with it. Even though I was enjoying the process it was quite intense going in every day into the rehearsal room knowing that you would have to shut off everything happy that was going on in your life then and concentrate fully on your depressed character who wanted nothing more than to die – but that’s what being an actor is all about! Focus was a big factor of this whole project, if you weren’t focusing enough I found myself drifting out of character and just ‘acting’, bt not really feeling any of the words I was saying.
The final week
Our performance was sight specific and was held in a bar not far from the ATRiuM. We only had a day to set everything up and have a run through in the space until we opened to the public, so the last week was very intense. We also had a live band playing at the start to set the scene where the students from the 1st year had a chance to be part of if they could play an instrument or could sing. That’s what I liked about this project was that we were networking between other courses as the techie’s were sound tech students from the ATRiuM and our band and stage managers were all 1st years from my course; we became one big family.
All the performances went well I think as we had good feedback from staff and friends. The last performance was very emotional and it wasn’t hard to find the tears at the end of the last scene which was meant to be an emotional scene anyway. As we all bowed for the very last time and walked into the dressing room, we all huddled in a big circle and for the first time we were all speechless, just blubbering as it had finally hit us that after 3 years, we were done!
Straight after the performance we had a mini awards ceremony for our course and guess what, I won the most likely to get the head of department job!! So, watch out you may see me running the degree in a few years! Haha that’ll be the day!!
I don’t think it has quite hit me that I am finally done with University as I have been busy celebrating for the last few days. It will probably hit me when I have nothing to do one day and suddenly start blubbering to myself :/. It’s quite a bitter sweet feeling that I have been ranting on about how much I want to finish uni this month because of the stress but now it’s finally done, I miss it already! This week really has made me appreciate the good times that I have had at University and the people and staff that I will definitely be keeping in contact with in the future thanks to their support and the great experiences I have shared with them. I wouldn’t have been half the person I am today without these 3 years, I just wish I’d have appreciated them a little more and not stressed out about little things, because you remember the good times not the bad times! And what better way to finish uni than to find out that I got a high first in this module and in my individual performance in the play! Hard work really does pay off!
I’m off on holidays to Lanzarote this week to keep me busy and hopefully get a tan (no chance!), before I start my new job as a researcher with a TV company! Exciting times ahead!!
Speak soon, Sian.