Feels like an age has come and gone since I last put a director’s finger to keyboard on this PACE blog page.
The round up and cut of our small herd of special PACE sheep seems so long ago , it is hard to remember that only 5 weeks has passed since last we all entered Spires 1 on “equal” drama terms.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, a lot has flowed from Northbridge roots.
You will be wondering what is going on ? You will be curious and even though, affixed to other drama projects , within Spires Theatre Scene – all eyes and ears will be firmly glued on news from ” across the theatre border” – friendly or otherwise?
It is always natural to feel a little envious of others in PACE round show times, so don’t feel bad, and I would hope that the human “drama” part of you is secretly wishing you were in our strange other Spires 1 world , part of our Connections Community and quickly counting down the hours till ” our judgement day”
All seems quiet on the “Heritage” front and yet we have been in serious rehearsal now for many hours and have picked at, dissected, discussed, questioned, improvised, even danced our workshop way and yet continue “religiously” to truly “create ” every second, every beat and paused moment of the acting of this play.
This is a complete “acting” text and it is fair to say this somewhat ‘inexperienced acting’ cast has learned, that what they did in PACE before, bears no real relevance to what they attempt skilfully to do now.
Acting has begun to look and feel very different for them all.
The Acting is beginning to be ” dangerous and difficult fun ”
And all about the truth – not the lie , what’s natural not pretend , gut instinct response not mouthing the words and waiting for the next line to come at you!
Real Aacting in Heritage is:
“Listening to the black crow and the bend of the river and the sound of clouds rolling by …”
(The things “environment” can give us as little drama gifts to play with…)
To take 13 young people and turn then into a theatre community is no mean feat.
13 divergent personalities with differing PACE pedigrees; the task seems almost insurmountable, in the short rehearsal period allotted to this wonderfully dramatic play.
But it is happening and all thanks to HERITAGE
Daffyd James has crafted a demanding and highly dramatic “ensemble” theatre piece with 13 characters in the same space for the entire duration of his 50 minute play.
Any “ensemble” ( group) acting piece takes time, every character’s action and reaction must be right for the dialogue that takes place around them – 13 characters and many lines makes for stressful and uber involved commitment from them all.
The added pressure of following in former ” giant ” footsteps is not easy for this particular cast to handle – to be reminded of ” the Guffin ” with every seeming step, breath and move they make would cause any strong PACE ego to crack.
How do you follow an ” NT Shed” debut ? What a pressure to bear!
But they do and will – handle it – and triumph …whichever way the dice are rolled come May , with their own greatness , with a unique and ever so proud PACE NTC 14 “Heritage”.
This year’s NTC cast has perhaps come further in a month of rehearsals than many in STS ever achieve in a year of shows.
They are like a whole new wave of “setting expectations high” and working seriously for better performance standards , whilst a member of PACE YOUTH THEATRE. They are each and every one – wonder-full.
I have since found that taking a risk on a fledgling group that doesn’t seem outwardly “to fit” reaps its own theatre rewards.
No one could have predicted Northbridge would feel like Spires home sweet home , that Tubbsy would be so passionate,
Jackson so dynamic…
Cari Ann …so shrewish…
Lisa so dramatic…
Douglas so diverse…
Bradley so sensitive…
Mark so innocent…
Jinx so special…
Melony so intuitive…
Jamie so absolutely…there!
And as for those “Twins” …well the transformation from average to extraordinary
Is one only an audience can behold, or ” daddy” the Provost !
But we are a long way off our drama end-zone and with just two weeks of rehearsal left and the play not yet complete, the prospect of what we finally arrive at is something I am more than happy to leave to your youthful and naturally envious judgement.
National Theatre Connections this year has brought more to PACE than former “London Glory” – it has rekindled the passion some have for their drama and for wearing their PACE uniform with a better and more ‘hearty’ sense of pride
We understand PACE is social for the majority, we know weekly groups are just weekly hobbies and out of school activities for most, we know friends, friendships and relationships matter above all else for “all” but the few …
But there are always ” The Few”
“We happy few, we band of brothers…”
And that precious “few ” are the stuff our PACE future dreams are made of…because without the “really” drama few in Spires …There would be no beacon to follow, no shoes to fill , no bright stage lights to look up to.
Heritage is for “now” your only true drama beacon, your next best theatre shoes and your national stage light to guide you
Because definite PACE progress is being made here , creative young people are visibly changing from PACE polished performers to intuitive PACE actors, a script is being literally lifted off the page and into an alternate drama reality right before our eyes and ” social ” (the ruin of many a PACE talent) has rightly become about a truer fellowship of drama mind, body and spirits – all about the acting and the will to succeed and support each other – every step of their nationally connected way.
” Heritage ” is for this 13 – no longer a play title – it is their PACE ” identity”
” Love for PACE” is the anthem of this band of Youth
…asks no questions, feels no shame , traditions to honour …United they act in it’s name..
I would strongly urge all PACE members from 11-18 to see this play next month. Especially those with time ahead in PACE.
I would urge you to show your support and appreciation of a PACE project very “well” done
To put aside your own feelings and to be “there” emotionally for this young cast – as they step out into their Northbridge Paddock
To be a part of this amazing National Theatre Connections Challenge 2014, be it only, but more importantly, as audience, the necessary last part of any play
To embrace this new idea of Acting Heritage in PACE with open minds, hearts and spirit,
Ready to seize theatre opportunities as they are presented to you and to make good dramatic use of every second you have here, to make your on and off stage presence count – in every PACE way.
Tick Tock goes the PACE clock – you are here and then you are gone. Is it not better “to be” wholly involved than simply half past your best…
We can only ever open a door for you here, it is up to you to enter…our PACE play,
Each play cast has its own secrets and lies to play.
I do not lie when I say the secret to this play lies in the fact that nothing is impossible when you finally decide to let go of “you ” and just play.
National Theatre Connections ” HERITAGE ” by Daffyd James Thursday 13th – Saturday 15th March 2014, Wynd Auditorium .
Tickets on sale , at PACE box office –
(a post show discussion with the cast and director will be held on Thursday 13th March )
Look forward to seeing you all in our Northbridge Paddock