Andie Coulson

I am a young actor training as part of the Miskin Theatre. This is a brief look into our daily work as a young working theatre company from an individual's view.

"I love you." "Yeah. Hurry up."

Rehearsal Content

Physical and vocal warm-up led by Craig.

First year company read through of “West Side Story”.

Finished yesterday’s conferences.

Thoughts and Feelings

The read through today was a largely informative and explanatory exercise, but also very comical and light hearted, which in a way helped it to be more memorable and fast paced. We found it challenging not to sing the songs but instead to story tell them as we’re familiar with so many of them already that we had a routine that we couldn’t break. However it also made you look deeper (when we managed to break the habit) and see them as part of the essential storyline, as much happens or is reinforced in the lyrics as is in the spoken text.

Getting to read in for Maria let me step into a characters shoes for the entirety of their journey and I got to watch many character’s journeys as well. Although we have all seen the film a couple of times, there are several differences in the characters and writing in the theatre production that I had yet to see be pulled together.

Quite a few of the scenes I had already had the chance to work on which I found an advantage when trying to bring the text off the page, but it also let me play more as I knew what worked. For example, when rehearsing the scene with Maria and Anita when she is trying to persuade her to make the neck lower on her dress, I knew to try different persuasion techniques and the kind of friendly, pushing it but knows her place relationship between the two characters.

It also opened my mind to how challenging the accents are; I thought I was working quite well towards a Puerto-Rican accent, but when trying to sustain it amongst varying Manhattan accents, it slips out of place, so whichever role you play you will have to focus very strongly on the accent!

It was also great to find the comedy in the text, watching the film, my simple minds was at times confused as to whether the comedy moments were intended that way or whether I had lost my mind a little, but there is a lot of enjoyable funny moments written into the script.

Directors Notes

“Don’t sing the lyrics, story tell them. Sondheim writes in a style that allows you to do this.”

As mentioned we all found this quite a struggle, but I think it’s useful to think of the songs as stories as when it does come to performances we shall have the beneficial knowledge of the intent behind it. It’s definitely something to bear in mind when they become singy-songs!

“Run straight through it.”

Without the choreography and songs in there, it’s not too long a story so there was no need for a break. I agree that we shouldn’t have paused, as we needed to stay in the moment to keep it running and keep it alive.

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