Clown, Melodrama, Commedia: Tidbits from the Acting Workshop

Thespians Anonymous Acting Workshop, 2012
The acting workshop attendants

14 members of Thespians Anonymous gathered together for our spring workshop hosted by the illustrious Anni Pellikka from Metropolia who provided us with a similar event last autumn. Glad to know we didn’t scare her away the first time!

We started off with a few warm-up games to get in the mood. It really was no place for the worries and stress of people’s daily lives! The workshop was to be mainly on comedy acting to match our spring production, Chemical Imbalance, which is a comedy version of the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Incidentally, the workshop proved to be both educational and entertaining for people outside the current cast as well.

When acting on stage, it’s important to remember that, well… normal is not enough. Everything needs to be maximised – voices, facial expressions, positions, etcetera – which is no less relevant for comedy. This workshop focused particularly on the position aspect. One of the ways we explored this by was creating real life still photos with themes like ”angry” and ”in love” and then examining each other’s takes on these moods. It was quite amazing to notice how many different interpretations there are to something that at first seems so simple: we saw just-been-proposed-to love, oh-gosh-he’s-so-cute love, I-shall-miss-you-dearly love, and what have you. Such a creative bunch!

Toning down on something is easier than making it bigger, which is why it often pays to act a little over the top. We’ve been experimenting with this idea in our Chemical Imbalance rehearsals, and this is what we had a go at in the workshop as well. The idea of a real life photo still remained, but this time there were 10 different versions – on the scale of -5 to +5. There was some pretty extreme modelling and videogaming to be seen…

Granted, even comedy is no laughing matter, which was well proved by all the ”angry” and ”sad” things we aimed to express. However, the thing is making it big, elaborate, and even in-your-face obvious, which is what most of comedy is all about. A lot of the time, the most important things (acting-wise) happen when nothing is being said.

In a nutshell, the workshop contained walking, running, sitting, standing, lying, laughing, crying, and loving – just like life itself. Not only did I have a great time, but I also learnt to pay attention to a lot of the things I do or don’t do on stage. Thanks to Anni and my fellow Thespians for an excellent evening!

Siiri Turunen has been an enthusiastic Thespians Anonymous member since autumn 2011. Acting is one of the things she loves without quite knowing why – like earrings, hedgehogs, and dry asphalt in spring. She firmly believes there is always room for one more cookie.

Thespians Anonymous proudly present Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play on 15, 16, 17 and 18 May 2012 in Helsinki. For more information see Thespians Anonymous website or Chemical Imbalance Facebook event.

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