Continuing my drama theme of “cheese & ham toasties” versus an even tastier option ; I thought last night struck a “nouvel” chord .
On this note and for your future grown up reference , in many “fine dining” experiences , it is often customary to be served an ” amuse bouche ” pre- dinner to stimulate the appetite – salty nuts do much the same in bars , to make us drink more.
Those ” French scholars ” amongst you will no doubt recognise the root of this phrase , that “amuse bouche” could possibly mean ” pleasing mouth ” and , it does, in a delicious way…
But here ( from a genuine ” foody ” blogger source is a better description of what it means – by way of a better “culinary” education )
“…An amuse bouche is a single serving not on the menu. You don’t order it. It is a thing of beauty and elegance and of lovely tastes and flavors. It is presented by theu chef as a representation of their style of food and is an indication of what you can expect from your upcoming meal…”
We’ll knock me down with a Thai prawn ‘tail-feather’, if that is not just what you were served up last night …
A single serving , albeit in part , on our showcase menu; a thing of musical and acting beauty oozing with an inspired performance taste and new controlled harmonious flavours.
Presented by 2 dramatic chefs, as a representation of the style of their theatre direction – an indication of what you can expect, from this mightier feast.
Comme tout est finit ( pigeon French ! ) Acting is all “in the mouth”.
It is a pleasure to be savoured, by the lips , the tongue , the teeth , the breath that swirls up from the vocal folds ,chopped delicately into notes , ready to be whipped and twirled around the salivating taste buds . Then tightened, lifted , placed and served through a strange empty space in our face , physically engineered for sound.
Any “good” actor and/or singer will know that if their mouth isn’t in tip top condition , the delivery of their craft will not leave waiting audiences’ ears feeling satisfied.
A bit like being served luke-warm tomato soup. You know you should like it , because it’s good for you , but it just doesn’t taste the same as before , or when others seem to make it.
Its easy to get your mouth in better shape as an actor – we spend a fortune and a lot more of our time nowadays on whitening and straightening our teeth.
Giving them the Hollywood ” veneer” of an outward perfect appearance
Why then not our performance mouth ?
That tongue of yours is expected to do a lot of work , but you’ll not think to warm it up , to get ready for the word race round your mouth you expect it to complete in record drama time.
Your lips ( short i please ! ) are fleshy muscles that can look flabby when pushed awkwardly into place ; like thighs , arms and tummies they often need a few sit ups, push ups and leg lifts to keep them honed and toned.
Speech muscles are no different from any other body part that will only work faster , look better – perform more beautifully when you chose to spend time on them ,caring for them and doing some exercise!
It’s hard I know , you’re young , easy option standard …and because, well its drama ! …and isn’t drama supposed to be just exciting and more about you know , just feeling it ?
But! If you didnt have a voice , how would you express your youthful excitement ?
How would you say how you youthfully feel …?
If not for the words, in the text …
… in the bigger meaning of the play?
…in your Youth Theatre.
Words are formed by the brain delivering a minute impulse to the breathing apparatus , which activates the mechanism of the larynx ( voice box ) , which in turn switches on your organ , saliva and taste bud crammed mouth to finish the job.
It happens in a nano second , so much power , ingenuity , so much we as humans can’t fathom ….but it happens and for an actor , a singer ..for any Performance …it has to happen the best ever… “all ways”.
Yeh sure , you can get away with less than perfect in life – if you want to… you can get away with not bothering , not caring , minimal effort ,hardly any work at all and yes , it will get you so far…
But for a good Youth Theatre actor , a good young singer , a good promising athlete , a greater human endeavour in anything – it has to be about the effort , the care , the detail – so that “passion’s perfect play” is seen , heard…youthfully applauded.
Do you feel something now as you read this…
a hunger ?
has your mouth suddenly changed inside?
…is there a taste of sharpness at the back of your tongue , a ” fizz” , like slightly over ripe pineapple ?
That’s the taste of success my amusing young buds.
Because as soon as you understand the important message behind this “after class-cyber post” – you will automatically remember next time you come to look at any soeech , text extract given to you that it’s not you that going to ultimately deliver it to the audience …it’s the contents of your own sweet mouth.
Your vowel sounds all need rounded , softened and placed better , your forming of consonants needs more effort , more precision, not left hanging weakly between two sounds ( eg. Th and f ,s and Sh) , your breath needs harnessed and controlled , yor pitches needs lifted or lowered , your pace needs regulated and your actor’s “pause” – well ….your sense of pause ……..needs …………………..needs ……………………….needs …..considered.
What you say, in the moment of ‘seeming nothinginess’ of a drama pause, often speaks more about “feeling it ” than the word that eventually follows.
” Use the force young Jedi !” Learn to use the mental silence: to create suspense, suggest subtext or to manipulate emotion. That’s the seduction technique we as actors most need at times , when words arent enough to convey the feeling.
This is Endeavour , this is your harder work , this is the artisic mission that will take you much farther or leave you behind.
Do you have what it takes to be a good ” dramanaut ” – or will the sheer endeavour of this rehearsal end your SPACE mission.
No one said it would be easier now you are together with perhaps ‘more focused and stage passionate people’.
No one said your voice might let you down.
A voice you should now try to listen to everywhere you go this week , to let you hear how you sound to yourself , to others and to whether you sound good enough , as an effective tool, to communicate within a mightier drama space.
Voice booklets will be reissued to those that need them , speech muscle exercises will appear mid week on this blog site – at least this way you have an awareness of things – what you chose to do with that knowledge potential is your ” call ”
Well I’m hungry now , it’s 9.31am , I’m sitting outside trying to feel the sun on my white winter skin and I really fancy some breakfast , a ” petit amuse bouche” to stimulate my senses before going into rehearsals today
Should I have toast ?
Toast is comforting , well known , well liked for a satisfying filler; but it’s what I put on it that makes the difference to my final taste experience
Cheese, peach chutney and black pepper ?
Peanut butter , honey and banana ?
Bacon , rocket and tomato with ‘light’ mustard Mayo ?
Simple Turkey rashers and Heinz tomato sauce ?
Oh it’s all too tempting and to be truthful I’m feeling kind of lazy today , the effort to prepare something more than toast and marmalade , is sometimes hard to muster – I like the thought of something better but I always wish someone else would make it for me
Like you and me I guess , when it comes to developing better more mature acting practise ?
You always want someone else to magically do it for you.
You know what I’m saying. You what you have to start doing.
As I do now …Making myself get up off my lazy behind , leaving the comfort of the comfy chair and the warm sun and move to the messy kitchen to find the right ingredients to prepare things , for my desired morning “amuse “breakfast” bouche !
Because I know that toast and marmalade is quick and easy and I dont have to think about it – it’s easy to open a jar and spoon it on
But I also know , the taste will be gone in seconds and my hunger will return and I’ll be snacking later trying to satisfy my appetite
A little more effort always goes a way to filling you ” better ” up , in the long run,
Wake up and smell the “drama coffee” , this mightier showcase feast is not going to happen without your personal effort directed in tastier vocal directions
Now where did I put that multi- seeded bread ?
( ps – for a great “feasting food” film recommendation in relation to this list of trying new food things
*****Julia Julia ( Meryl Streep and Amy Adams ) good light drama , heart warming and life affirming ( female orientated )
*****Big Night Out ( Stanely Tucci ) good light ” ITALIAN flavoured drama ( male orientated )
****The hundred Yard Journey
****The Lunch Box
All worth a foodie film look
Nothing ventured , no better taste gained