The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Two)

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  1. DECISION

Right! I’m now going to do this Autobio play starring as myself, but… what on earth do I do? How do I execute this piece? How do I act it? How do I direct it? What parts of my life are most significant and what might people be interested in? Do I do live or film or a mixture of both?

I discussed the key parts of my life with my co-director Mr P as well as my family. After much discussion we decided that my life before Uni was the way to go. Obviously, people at Uni only knew me as I was then. They had no idea about my life prior to the Uni course.

At that point I had a rough idea how I was going to perform this piece. I decided to make this mostly live theatre but to include multimedia and film. I felt that I could express my thoughts live but portray certain aspects on film. To me that was the most practical and sensible solution. Realistically speaking, I don’t think there was any way I could have done it. Mr Ian came up with great artistic ideas but I needed to do what I was comfortable with. Well… everything I was doing at that point was far from comfortable! Haha.

I decided what scenes I was going to film, what characters to use and who I would ask to play those parts.

With the cast chosen I then had to think about which scenes I would film and which I would perform live.

  1. OVER-ACTING

In the first two weeks I did find it difficult to play my character. I learned that I kept holding back when I was rehearsing so I decided to stop rehearsing altogether, choosing to act and improvise when I was being filmed.

I did this one scene where I was playing with my biro trains and Thomas trains where I would scream and get upset if my brother tried to join in the fun. I think I was ok but I wasn’t natural… I was extremely uncomfortable and I think because of this I started to over-act. It’s not easy when you’re 22 and you’re trying to act as you did when you were 4.

Acting as my younger self playing with my trains was probably the most difficult part of the whole performance. The scene wasn’t really done right. I couldn’t rehearse it as it was a challenge to keep it up. If I was going to do this then I had to do it in one take. My family members watched my scene back and they felt that I wasn’t being natural either. They watched me grow up so they could remember how I acted and behaved.

With much reluctance but being sensible, I decided that I should do this scene again, but in a more natural setting…I chose to do this, for the second time, at my sister’s house.

  1. EPIPHANY

There was a period where my confidence was low. I did start to doubt myself and my capabilities of being able to pull this off. Could I do it? I needed an inspiration from somewhere…

My university is actually based in a college. The correct term of studying that I did was Foundation Degree. Basically, you do two years of university work at a college but you do the final third year at an actual university. The third year is only optional though. I decided to take a look at my local university, with the thought of carrying on the third year, to obtain my full degree. It sounded ideal to me at that time. So, I went along to the open day and spoke to one of the course tutors with my Mum. We explained to her about my individual needs and what my strengths and needs were.

Her reaction to everything that we said was quite peculiar. She pulled a lot of funny faces and she especially made a quirky face when I said that I don’t understand generalisation. From that moment she started to discourage me from the course as she didn’t think I could handle it. There were going to be many social gatherings and she didn’t think that I could adapt enough to meet the course requirements. I was rather speechless at that moment…

I was a bit shocked on how quickly she discouraged me, and even went so far to suggest a writing course as no social interaction was required. Haha… I decided from that moment that I was not going to go on that course as the tutor didn’t seem open-minded and she did not understand people like me. Even if I did join the course I think I would have dropped out because of her. I was unimpressed with her attitude, and to be honest, I was unimpressed with the SLD facilities that that particular university had to offer.

After I spoke about my thoughts to my family and I had the chance for all this to sink in…a fire started to ignite in my stomach. I started to get annoyed that someone would pre-judge me and my capabilities without even getting the time to know me first. There have been people in my life who have doubted my capabilities, and I was always determined to prove those people wrong.

The only people who doubted me were the people who did not know me. They just judged my capabilities through papers, reports and assessments and probably what they’ve researched about autism on the internet. I wasn’t going to let anyone doubt me ever again. I was going to prove to everyone that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because of pre-judgement. I especially was going to prove to everyone and to myself that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because I’m Autistic.

I was angry. I was determined. I was motivated.

This was the answer. This was the epiphany that I was looking for. The confidence that I had lost came back and it was stronger than ever before.

And now, back to the Performance.

  1. NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE

I asked the National Certificate group to paint me a wall of a mountain that represents my personal journey. Me and Mr P went to their class and explained what we were looking for. At that moment Mrs V turned to me and said, “Are you going to tell everyone about you?” and I was like “oh my…”

I was so focus on proving a point to my doubters and to myself that I completely forgot that I was going to share with everyone about my Autism. Was this going to be a first time? Initially, I was very hesitant. I’ve never openly told this side of me to anyone, only a close group of people. I knew the National Certificates by their faces but I didn’t know any of them personally. How would they react? I took a deep breath and said, “I am autistic.”

I got a positive response. I was asked a lot of questions regarding Autism and how I cope with autism. It really warmed my heart and boosted my confidence. I even got a round of applauds.

It boosted my morale even more and for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid to say that I have autism. I became much more open about myself and I generally became chattier with people who I didn’t know very well, which used to be an enormous challenge for me.

  1. FILMING THE SCENES

What was initially daunting turned out to be a lot of fun.

The football guys were wonderful to work with. I explained to them what my condition was and how I cope with it. Coincidentally, they were doing a course about bullying so I was actually called into that class to talk about being different. I never thought I would speak about my autism in front a bunch of strangers! And like the National Certificates, I got a positive response.

The football students acted out their parts very well but I must say that Chris, the tutor, was particularly outstanding. His sister has learning difficulties so I think he was able to relate to my problems to some degree.

I decided to include some of my family/family friends in certain film scenes. They were fun to work with.

The scene I did with Nat and Mr Andy was not very loud on film so I went to Mr M, who is a record producer that I know and a good friend. He had a studio so offered to help with the sound on the film. He was kind enough to help me out so I went over to his house and did the over dubbing. What should have taken a few hours took all night. We worked on it from 4 O’clock in the afternoon until 5 O’clock in the morning! It took me 58 goes to get the speech pattern right! Haha! We experienced all kinds of emotions that night but it was definitely an amazing night and one of the best that I’ve experienced. =)

  1. SHOW TIME

There was a lot that I wanted to talk about as this had been a really good experience. I had a lot of fun with many people during the filming. I decided to only talk about significant parts of the rehearsals and filming and how I over-came problems.

Next time, I will share my thoughts with you about going into the performance, during the performance, and after the performance.

Show time!

The Acting World: Hat-Trick

Football

It’s show blog time!^^/

One of my all-time favourite performances comes in the form of “Hat-Trick”. It’s about an arrogant footballer who looks down his nose at other players and is a big womanizer. He doesn’t realise that other people make fun of him and he fails to realise his own faults, due to his high ego.

INTRODUCTION

The character Mr Hat-Trick actually came from a past college project. With many other characters he was in purgatory and wanted to ascend to heaven. He was a Football player in his past life but died in a Blimp Explosion. I bet you can all guess where I got that idea from. 😉

Ahem-

He actually started off as a romantic family man who cherishes his wife and adores his three children. Then, the tutor gave me an emotion of “sarcasm” and from that point on I developed him into someone who is very lofty and very arrogant. A little bit like Alan Partridge if you will who doesn’t realise that he is the butt of many jokes.

If I remember correctly he ends up being on the “bad” side rather than the “good” side. Haha.

UNI PROJECT IDEA

On this certain performance criteria we had to perform a community project of some sort. Around this time there were controversy involving John Terry and Wayne Bridge and the England squad was announced for the World Cup 2010. An idea immediately came to me. What if I play some football player who attends a press conference and gets asked a bunch of questions?  Random spectators from the audience can ask random questions and I could react in my character. Another idea came to me, what if I recycle a character from a past performance, I.e., Mr Hat-Trick? I love this idea so I decided to go with it.

Technically, this would probably count as a prequel to the college show as he died and resides in purgatory. Haha.

UNI-PROJECT BUILD-UP

I had quite a lot of fun on this project but at the same time I probably took it a little seriously.

As this was going to be a comedy I felt that the spectators could only appreciate it if they saw it once. I decided that it would be best if we had closed rehearsals, thinking that the comedy factor might wear thin if they had to watch it over and over in rehearsals.

I wouldn’t let anyone watch the rehearsals. In insight I believe this was unnecessary on my part. I never thought myself as unapproachable but I do think I might have taken some of the fun out of it. If I were to describe how I felt about it, I would say that I probably made it too precious.

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I worked on this project with a good friend a mine, let’s call him Mr Rodders. Mr Rodders worked on the technical side. He took several photo shoots of me posing wearing a Chelsea polo shirt and in a smart suit. He also filmed me running around in the park and playing football. I had to imagine that I was playing against the opposition. That was fun. I even got on the bus with him in an impromptu visit to the park. That was good experience for me as I don’t handle impromptu decisions well.

I had a few photoshoots with my fiancée, Mrs Hat-Trick, Jaclyn Delacroix. That was good experience for me too as it’s rare that I have to act lovey-dovey and embrace a lot. Hugs are not my thing so I was asking a lot of myself here.

One of the funniest moments during the build-up would was what I refer to as “the pink shirt moment”. The Character, Pippa, wore a pink shirt with a picture of my face on it and a huge “I” and a heart above my face. I.e., I love Hat-Trick. With assistance from Mum I managed to iron the image on. It turned out that the top was absolutely massive on the actor, and it actually went below her knees! You guessed it, I bought a size far too big. You see, in my head it was “A PINK SHIRT! I MUST GET THAT BEFORE IT SELLS OUT!” Nothing else really went through my mind except the colour “pink”. Haha.

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I felt that overall, despite being out of my comfort zone a little, I was a good leader and director. Usually I’m not very good at giving orders and when I’m in that position I’m hesitant and unsure. However, if I’m comfortable with the project, I know what I’m doing and I’m good at communicating.

I like to think I managed to accommodate the actors to their needs and I was able to process 5 questions at once… this often happened back when I was at school so it was a useful habit to have. =) The most important thing is that I never panicked and I never once took out my slight nerves on the actors and Mr Rodders. I’ve never been one to take out my frustration on others or humiliate them and I certainly wasn’t going to start then.

Leadership skills are not my strongest asset but I did myself proud. =)

UNI-PROJECT PLAY

The show started with me walking towards the main tech building with a young lady on my arm. The audience were in the foyer and my agent, Chip, played by Mr Rodders, phoned me and asked me where I was. On cue, when I was close enough, he walked outside and made a fuss out of my appearance. Then, he went back in and gathered the audience back in the facility where the “press conference” would take place.

My actual family was in attendance as was a good friend of mine. When I’m playing serious parts I don’t want my family to see me, but when I’m playing light-hearted parts, I like my family in attendance.

Usually, I take my roles seriously and it takes me little time to learn my lines. However, I feel that I’m only natural when I play the parts that I’m comfortable with, I.e., Hat-Trick. When I play parts seriously, I make little mistakes. When I play parts with good fun and they bring the best out of me, I’m prone to many mistakes. And that’s what happened in the actual play… I made plenty of mistakes but for the first time, I didn’t panic. I didn’t get annoyed either. I think it’s because I was calling all the shots and felt that I could get away with a “mistake or two”. ^^/

I loved the performance. I really let go and acted out Mr Hat-Trick. I was a bit of a womanizer and had plenty of banter with some of the actors in the audience. I even cursed a couple of times which I won’t repeat on here. 😉

One of my favourite pieces of dialogue is:

Hat-Trick: Besides, he’s s***

Mr H: Your s***

Hat-Trick: He’s the s****** of the s***

Mr: No, you are S***! You look like s***! You smell like s***! You are S***!

Hat-Trick: No, no, no, mate… I am THE S***. He’s just… S***!

The performance was concluded when Chip embraced me, groped my bum and pushed me out of the “conference” room…. The audience literally laughed their rockers off when that happened. I must admit, I thought it was funny too. I didn’t really know how I didn’t laugh myself.

UNI-PROJECT CONCLUSION

I was very natural. I was familiar with the football world and the sort of thing footballers may get up to. It was a comedy as well, so I could really let go and allow Hat-Trick to take over me for a little while.

My marks didn’t go as high as I could have got since I completely forgot what the original criteria assignment was about. That was to get the “audience” involved and since the actors I “hired” were “planted” it became a regular play rather than an interactive theatre. I didn’t mind this though because I was really proud of what I’ve accomplished and it’s all thanks to the help of Mr Rodders and everyone else who got involved to make it a good play. =)

THANKS FOR READING

 Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

I should mention as well that I did create a Facebook Fanpage for Hat-Trick in order to advertise the show. Looking at this page made me remember how much I enjoyed performing this piece. I’m even laughing right now as I recall some of the funny moments. =)

However, it seems that since then, a few people genuinely believed that I was an actual Chelsea player. In the near future, I’m going to cancel this account to prevent any more confusion. For now though I’m going to share this link so you all can check it out, if you like. =)

Here it is:

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-Robinson/116259388403366?ref=ts&fref=ts

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it. =)

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.