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Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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CRITICALLY EVALVATE ONE OF YOUR PERFORMANCES IN THE DIRECTORIALS WITH DETAILS OF PROCESS AND PRODUCT This is my evaluation of one of my performances in the directorials and the character work in general.

Given the fact that I performed in four different directorials over the last four months, I have chosen to write a piece about the first production I did and which was 'Barefoot In The Park'' directed by Neil Bydren.

The play focus around a happily married couple of four days who set up home in an old worn down flat in uptown New York. The play starts as they move into their new apartment.

The third of four characters enters midway through the play and she is the token American/Jewish mother and plays the comedy release of the constant bickering between the office, 9-5, regimented character and the calm collected and easy pseudonym. The forth person is the unforgettable crazy neighbour.

After my first meeting with Neil the director, the situation became inevitably clearer that he'd had aspirations to showcase the piece with a homosexual couple rather than the traditional pairing. Not only did I have to kiss a MAN several times on stage but I had to create the atmosphere of a couple that had been married for all of FOUR days. Due to most of my relationships not surviving this long, let alone marriages, this concept was new to me.

To find out that I'd have to kiss a man on stage was a strange feeling which I'd never felt before. The feeling of apprehension and anticipation can be a lethal combination as I did not want to confuse one for the other. I find it easier to box my feelings and deal with them separately, rather than just letting them fuse in to one overall emotion. This isn't just a practice I use for drama and like many other acting methods you can adopt them in to personal life, that's why I love acting so much as I believe we ALL act at points in our life except most of the time we are the only one watching.

Out of the two male roles available, I was given the part which initially required a female presence which as strange as first thought, quickly became apparent that George was in no stronger position than myself.

I find character analysis fascinating as it gives you the opportunity to develop or create something purely from a piece of paper. During the early rehearsal period, we, as a group did a lot of 'hot seating' exercises which is difficult, as it is completely improvised but it still needs a structure to secure the fundamental characteristics which complete the character. I've never done a show before where I've felt so awkward going to rehearsals as much as this one, but on the other hand Ive never done a show where I've felt rehearsal time has been so necessary. Obviously each kiss had a certain degree of difference between them. some I would lead, some George would lead, some would be soft and tender, some would hard and sexual each referring to the dialogue which had gone before hand. The relationship that George and myself had to command on stage, kisses and all, was so vital to the overall look of the show that the time we spent together had to be productive and creative.

I saw the part of Paul as someone who knows what he wants out of life but never worked hard enough to appreciate it when he got it. Very much a user of people but not in a malicious way more in a playful way. I had it down to his up-bringing. An incredibly free spirit who would never lose sight of his goals and dreams. This is something we all start with in life, but not many of us stick to it.

Neil had a vision that it was very 'Friends' (Television Programme) orientated and had us watch numerous cheesy American rom-com/sitcom dribble to enhance our comical timing. He encouraged us to watch several George Clooney movies as he wanted to use his voice pattern as a template for us to mimic. It involved the New York accent, with the usual under-tone sarcasm/comedy element and a strange array of pauses and gatherings. Really amazing if you listen carefully! Doing lots of different shows over the years Ive found that I peak in performance at different times, depending on how the rehearsal period has gone and on how I have got to grips with the character.

Costume is interesting because people use it in different ways. How does one person behave in an item of clothing and how would it differ with someone else using it? I always use the entity of clothes to give me that extra 10% I need before I perform which is why I never use costume before the final week of rehearsals. I find that it pushes me to another level of performance.

My overall feeling about my performance is that my character lacked edge. To the eye it may have seem that I captured the essence of the part and of course the piece was a huge success, and naturally the response people gave afterwards was of a programmed nature. Sadly it was the only piece that I did where I left the stage disappointed and concerned at the impact I may have left on the audience, because the job we had as actors was to transfer the uncomfortable atmosphere we had in rehearsals to the audience. In the long run I feel this was not apparent for I believe the characters that were around me were so strong and disciplined that I honestly believe that I brought the shows standards down. In retrospect I've never done a more mentally draining piece of theatre than this and although it may not be the first production that goes down on my CV it will always hold a special place in my heart.