by, 13th February 2013 at 01:11 PM (418 Views)
So my class had an exam today. The whole shebang; locked in the drama room, in costume, nobody entering or leaving, each of us going through our performances alone on stage for the examiner, a cameraman, our teacher and a director and a small audience and then waiting for said examiner to return from marking each performance in a separate room alone (the guy couldn't even speak to anyone or show any emotion beyond telling us "you may begin"; that would be the worst ever job for me). The past couple of weeks I have been effectively distraught over this, struggling to remember my two and a half minutes of speech in the right order, blanking out, being too scared to perform my piece to full effect. I have had the most unusual piece in the class by far, acting as Hamm of Samuel Beckett's Endgame and literally shouting and sneering at the audience through my broken storytelling and fragmented critique of it. I haven't properly acted in about ten years and I haven't been on a stage alone for any length of time.. Well, ever. So this was pretty huge.
But it went perfectly. Up until the last rehearsal I was forgetting bits, shaking, losing conviction sometimes. I had pretty much lost all faith in myself as an actress, admittedly. I shook as I introduced myself and my piece to the examiner and the camera and I barely breathed as I readied myself, but I gave it my all and, like every single one of my classmates, gave the best performance of my piece so far. Suddenly I remembered every line in order without much effort, I used every vocal, facial and physical expression I had wanted to, I didn't stumble and I did it all making eye contact with everyone watching. I couldn't believe it had even happened and I barely managed to take my props aside and get off the stage in time for the next person to set up; even now I can't believe it went well when I had been preparing myself for a struggle. The classmates who had thrown me with their confused expressions and inability to understand the meaning of the piece were actually cheering and shouting and clapping even more loudly for me than they had so far and telling me they finally understood it. The pokerfaced examiner who had remained almost entirely emotionless through most of the performances looked surprised and confused (is that a bad thing?). By the time my friend went last and finished his monologue he had begun to cry and all of the others and I broke formality and ran up to hug him before the examiner had even left the room. After constantly helping, filming and reassuring each other, we ended up shrieking and having group hugs and staying in the drama room for an hour after the exam finished, dancing and playing games and eating the snacks my teacher had brought in for us against the college's rules.
It's weird how much sharing such an experience can make you bond with people you have so little in common with otherwise. The fact that today went so incredibly well still makes me feel so surreal, it's just a shame that we have to wait until August to find out our grades.
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