Last week we had Joe with us - a Year 10 work experience student. From checking in walkers on the Sonnet Walk, to researching The Two Noble Kinsmen, to assisting on the sound desk, here's Joe's diary of the week, in his own words...
Day 1 - Sonnet Walk
I began my work with GSC at their annual sonnet walk, which this year was set up at West Horsley Place. First I signed people in to the walk, which was a great starting point, as I am quite shy and not great at talking to strangers! Everybody who came was very friendly and in good spirits, this was partly due to the brilliant weather that we had on the day. I also helped to sell GSC mugs, bags and pens as well as books on the history of the house.
After this, towards the end of the day, I had the chance to go on the sonnet walk, which I had been hoping for all day. I had seen the house from the outside previously and it looked incredible, however it was nothing compared to the beautiful inside. With the actors inside, it was a total time capsule. I felt as though I had gone back many years but this was just the amazing skill of the actors on the walk and the costumes, which had been carefully considered. The best part however was the feedback from each person who finished the walk, complete positivity.
Most said it was the best sonnet walk that GSC had done and after doing the walk myself, I’m not sure what would top it.
Day 2 - Research and Drama Club
My next day was in preparation for days 3 and 4. Rehearsals for ‘Two Noble Kinsmen’ would be performed and I knew nothing about the play. I first looked at the synopsis and the plot, which was compelling and then I looked into the characters in more detail. I wanted to follow the rehearsals and feel as though I understood it all and this research certainly helped. After learning the story I created my own version of it. I thought about the period of time where it would be set, how the character’s occupations would be changed to suit the time period and the same with the costumes, which are of course vital in all productions. This also helped to understand how everything must be considered, from standout features to the tiniest details.
After lunch, Fran and I went to Queen Eleanor’s primary school for the after school drama club. The children there were all so excited, especially to see Indiana! We played a few games involving shouting someone’s name which I of course was terrible at because I didn’t know anyone! The children then performed a mini version of Robin Hood, which was very entertaining.
Day 3 - The Two Noble Kinsmen, Read-Through
I spent day 3 as well as day 4 inside St. Mary’s Church for the directing of the play ‘Two Noble Kinsmen’ which I was now very hot on. First, all of the actors met and talked, which Ant had left time for; he knew how chatty they would be! Everybody had to pair up with whomever they knew the least; I was paired up with Ben, or Arcite. As a warm up exercise the actors had 10 minutes to create a 2-minute performance of the entire story with all the main plot points included. It was funny but also fascinating to see the actors panicking and constantly talking but also making swift progress.
After this exercise, the first read-through began. I did not expect how naturally the actors would slip into their roles but they did and became the knights, princesses, jailers and countrymen. For the rest of the day the play was slowly read through, with interventions from Ant and the restarting of a lot of scenes, with lines added or removed. I also played a lot of the music and sound effects at the right time according to the script and this really brought the play to life as it felt for immersive. By the end of the day there were only a couple of scenes left to go and I knew that the actors would jump straight back in tomorrow.
Day 4 - The Two Noble Kinsmen, Dress Rehearsal
As expected, no time was wasted and the last few scenes of the first read-through were completed, with sound effects. Next, some of the scenes were re-done with new instructions, which made them even better, and sometimes the actors were their own directors and naturally knew when something could be better. After a lunch break, everybody was in costume and a full rehearsal with no stoppages was performed and I sat in a sometimes-overlooked seat, which helped the actors to be aware of all the audience members. Everyone was proud at the end of the play, as all of this work had been done, a whole play, in just a day and a half.
I have had an amazing week at the Guildford Shakespeare Company and I would recommend them to all. Everybody is friendly, everybody is always laughing but always making progress in whatever they are doing. I have been in 4 different places, which has been very exciting and has allowed me to meet lots of people. I have been given roles that have involved me in whatever is going on and I appreciate that my given roles were considered and interpreted into the walks, performance and general work.
Thanks Joe! Glad you enjoyed!