Sophia - So, it has happened. After all the rehearsals, we've started performing How To Ruin A Great Play! And it's so much fun!
Last weekend we performed 4 times (not a lazy weekend at all). For me it was the first time ever! So it was very stressful. On Saturday we met at 10:30 with a tech run. And there happened to be a couple of not so pleasant surprises for me:
1. On the stage it is unbelievably hot because of the lights,
2. It is so bright, that it almost hurts your eyes and you almost cannot see the audience (well, that part may be not so bad, since I can imagine there's no one there).
So, I'm thinking, sunglasses and a fan might be great accessories for my character. (I will try to sell this idea to the Director...)
Then we had a dress rehearsal, after which I panicked and if there had been another actress to play
my character, I would have said: "Hey, let her do it, I'm outta here, see ya!".
Luckily, my fellow actors are super supportive and helped me gain some confidence. Which is, by the way, also a surprise for me, because I would always imagine actors being self-centered, fighting for attention, somewhat like my character, but KKP have proved me wrong. For example, when
between the scenes we had to change quickly, Magda and Kuba managed to find time not only for
themselves, but also to help others, not mentioning their support throughout all the rehearsals. Emma just made my day giving me flowers after the first show (yes, actresses really can be that sweet!). Zien was saving us all from the heat pretending to be a ventilator. Sindhu inspired by her calmness. And Don was Don, the only person who could not possibly show any anxiety and kept making the play better and better, making some changes even between the performances. And also Mark,
Michal and Ira, who made it all so much easier for us by taking care of literally everything. And Ola who came to support us. As if that was not enough, I got so lucky to have my amazing friends coming to cheer me on. My biggest fear was that after the play I would see them averting their eyes away and mumbling "Ok, so that was really....er....nice....I gotta go now..." How happy I was seeing that they truly enjoyed the performance!
Does my diary look a bit like an Oscar speech? Is it too early for that? Hmm, it's good to be prepared, right?
Zain - Usually I talk to myself, a lot!... Loud in the street, in the bathroom, whilst I'm cooking...
Earlier today, you should have seen the look the cashier in the supermarket gave me when she heard me saying one of Marco's lines - "Bum in face, I'm in the wrong place". Errr... will you be paying with by credit card, sir?
OK, I'm at rehearsal but I feel so bad. I'm late because my car has broken down, and a serious problem with the transportation. But still - not an excuse! (Sorry De Niro, I failed you, I failed you...)
As usual, we started warming up with a game. Today's game is called “Numbers”. I wish I could explain it to you but even I don't really have a clear idea what it's about. I really suck at this game but I always win at the end! At this stage of rehearsals we are doing a full run of the play, and I like this so much as finally we can see the full vision of our work.
I have two monkeys speaking in my mind, fighting, betting every time I rehearse: is that everything I can do? Can I do better next time? Is this enough?
And always the non-satisfied monkey is winning the bet: it should be better, and it's never enough.
Everyone is giving their best during rehearsal, trying new moves, reactions, following the changes
which are a lot each and every. And at the end of the day I can see that we are all really tired but we have this smile on our faces, this smile which is full of mixed emotions of satisfaction and challenge, passion and exhaustion.
Rehearsal over and I'm on the main street and I have a different challenge now: how the hell am I supposed to get back home!?
Sophia spots me crying and talking to myself. “Come with us”, she says “Don will give you a lift to the nearest tram station." Don confirms the offer and the journey begins.
Don has a plan and he assigns tasks to all: 1. He drives. 2. Sophia checks the time of the tram. 3. I do not disturb them and try to remember the station near my home.
Magnificent plan! Really good. It would be even better if only worked… Don was driving 40km/hrs., Sophia was following wrong tram schedule on her smartphone, updating us every station we were passing and me? I could not remember any names of any stations.
It was a miracle I reached home. No idea how, but finally I’m here, in my bathroom, repeating Marco’s lines… Wait a minute, am I alone here? Yea it’s only me, only me, and the bathroom mirror...
Tickets availble online: Sept2017KKP.evenea.pl
Don Allen - Up bright and early! I like Saturday rehearsals the best. Saturday rehearsal’s are longer, between 4-5 hours, so I feel we can really make progress.
This will be the second run of How To Ruin A Great Play! and, because we learnt so much from the first run, and we have a longer rehearsal period, this (I pray!) will be even better!
And I also love rehearsing when we are at this level in the process - everyone knows their lines and is comfortable with their movement, so now we can concentrate on the little things: listening to other characters talking (I know that sounds strange, but you’d be surprised just how hard it is to listen!), thinking about ‘why’ you speak, enjoying the sounds of the words and the rhythm of sentences, as well as making precise and meaningful movements.
It also makes me realise just how much I love (and miss) acting! Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when you first start rehearsals and your journey begins and you’re discovering new things. But being at this stage, when you’re no longer ‘thinking’ about your lines is completely liberating! As an actor you’re now pushing yourself, looking for what motivates you to speak/move, trying to leave your comfort zone. This is real acting. And it’s what (I think) separates real actors from ‘show me’ actors. A ‘show me’ actor is very good at performing their role - ‘showing’ you their emotions and feelings. ‘Show me’ actors don’t push and test themselves. ‘Show me’ actors are comfortable knowing their lines and movements. They stop trying to grow and develop because they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. (But I’m digressing!)
This morning Sophia and I were the first to arrive, then the rest of the stragglers clomped in! (It’s probably only fair that I should let you know everyone was early.) We also discovered that two of our cast had consumed copious amounts of alcohol the night before! One of ‘em had seen-off 16 vodka shots! 16!!! Obviously it wouldn’t be right to name-names, so let’s just say this person plays a character whose name begins with a ‘J’…
We have to warm-up and focus before we start work on the play. Todays warm-up was “flannel, clap, tap and jump”. A counting game. Then jumping straight into rehearsal - I wanted the actors to focus on movement, having a slow-pace and to listen.
As usual we unearthed new moves and new way of saying lines; a few new lines were added and, surprisingly, one line (word) was actually deleted!
Then we did a full run of the play. And it’s not looking too shabby. Still many areas to improve but, at this stage, it’s looking good.
So to sum up today’s rehearsal - two actors suffering hang-overs, one actor getting angrier, one increasing her violence quota and one breaking stuff in the rehearsal room. You really must come and see the play…
Sophia - My friend is sitting opposite me in the restaurant sipping her coffee, and I keep wondering if she's already sick of my theatre stories or not yet. We met right after a rehearsal, so I'm still full of emotions. Luckily for her, after rehearsals I'm always starving, so at least I keep silent when chewing.
Today we had only one actor per role, and finished an hour earlier than we usually do, so before the meeting I had time to walk around cozy Krakow streets admiring the city and reflecting on my story with KKP. I thought about how I signed up for auditions and then almost canceled my participation after seeing How to Ruin a Great Play!, because I could not possibly imagine being on stage with those actors, whose performance fascinated me so much. And today, guess what, not yet on stage, but during the first run of the play I was acting with them! Exactly the same cast that impressed me: Emma, Magda, Don, and Kuba. And that felt amazing!
Actually, during the first rehearsals I was always surprised by the fact that they and Don kept changing something for their roles, or improving something, working on their characters as much as on the roles of the new joiners. For me it felt strange, because I thought if they had already played those roles, everything was ready and final. But with each and every rehearsal something new appears, lines change, performance advances, characters transform... And I won't be surprised if they come up with something new on the very day of the performance.
Another surprising thing is that no matter how many times I watch some scenes during rehearsals (dozens, hundreds already?..), they still make me laugh! I hardly ever laugh twice at the same joke, and almost never watch the same movie twice, finding that really boring, but this play and the actors make me laugh again and again.
What else could one want from a comedy?
Magda - Thurday evening. If there is anything I've learned during my involvement with KKP, it's definitely that you can always do more. When we first performed “How To Ruin A Great Play!” I knew there was some room for improvement, but I was absolutely oblivious to how much could be done.
Turns out, the only thing standing in your way of achieving a better performance, is you. I'm not going to lie or try to hide it, I've struggled with JODIE and had some hard time with her quite recently. She is a very lively and energetic person, and since I'm her total opposite in real life, getting her to move around even more was quite a challenge. To top it all, I'm also the only cast member whose character isn't doubled by any other actor, so for me 4 hours of rehearsal meant 4 hours of jumping, running around the stage, waving my hands and legs and falling to my knees (okay, we take breaks but I'm trying to be dramatic so...). It may sound tiring (it is), but there are two sides to every coin: I'm constantly building my performance plus I feel useful, and if that isn't one of the most fulfilling things in the world then I don't know what is.
During Thursday's rehearsal my focus was on my blocking (movement). We sorted out some parts of it that still felt icky. There is still a lot of work ahead of me as I'm still not quite there in regards of freedom of movement.
Though I wasn't particularly happy with how my monologue turned out in the rehearsal, that is something I can work on in my own time. What I'm most content with, is how I stopped 'sabotaging' myself while delivering it. I fell into a habit of telling myself internally: 'you're not getting there'; 'you're not in the moment' or 'it's gone flat, you can't do anything about it now'. As you can guess that was not very helpful in 'getting there'. I can't even count how many hours I spent on that speech. Don and I talked through my problem and tried to find a solution. Concentrating on the character did it, as opposed to rushing the monologue as soon as doubts about my abilities to deliver it hit me. I pay more attention to the words I'm saying, too.
We're all human beings. We're not always in a good mood. But even if I'm not particularly loquacious during the breaks on a worse day, you can bet I'll try to give my best in rehearsal. It's not only for my benefit, but also others. Acting, among other things, is about teamwork, and the last thing I want to do is ruin my castmates work and waste their time. Besides, I genuinely enjoy working with them and watching how their performances grow and what progress they've made. Plus they're hilarious - I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe at some parts of the rehearsal on Thursday.
I'm always crap at ending my school compositions, thus I simply need to live up to my reputation in this diary entry. To recap: rehearsals are tiring but fulfilling, more freedom of movement needed, monologues are doable, respect your castmates because they're great.
Emma Wallett - Saturday... a day of relaxation and rest. Ha! Not if you're an actor. As the alarm goes off at 8am I must admit there is a second of "oh please no..." as I jealously glance over at my sleeping kitten curled up next to my head and the raging storm right outside my window. But hey, no one said this would be easy!
By 9:30am it's time to start the trek to rehearsal. I choose the half hour walk vs. shorter tram ride because it provides the perfect opportunity to focus on what I want to achieve in rehearsal today, get into character and re-run any tricky lines. Best way to use 30min!
I am here! We start with a quick warm up game, called "the list" which requires all of us to remember individual words and lines, and repeat them as the list grows longer. This proves so much more challenging on a Saturday morning without coffee. Especially since the topic is travel, which sends me on a daydream of sandy beaches and salty air. But no time to dwell, time to act!
The play we are rehearsing provides a unique opportunity to poke some fun at some of our peers, and for some of us I'm sure, ourselves when we started out acting. But it's also a challenge to consciously depict "bad acting" with the knowledge and technique we have acquired along the way. So in rehearsal today we're focusing on how to make bad acting worse, while still keeping it clean readable for our audience. Sounds easy? It's actually quite the challenge!
By noon it's time for a quick break. As I run to the store, I'm thinking about how to bring new life into a character I've already played. Maybe changing her tone? Possibly focusing more on her nurturing side and less on her anger? Ahh decisions, decisions! Perhaps this coffee will help...
Two more hours to go. Little known fact of rehearsals, most of the characters in the play have multiple actors rehearsing them. Which means you get the luxury of sitting down and watching another actor's take on the character. But today, there's just one of each, which pretty much means you're standing for the 5 hours of rehearsals. So me, not being the strongest human on earth, by the end it starts to feel like I just ran a marathon!
The end!!! Time for a quick recap of rehearsal, some personal notes for actors, and things to work on for next time. So I bet you can guess what I'm focused on during the walk home.
Looks like the rest of the day is gonna be focused on all the forms of art in my life. The boyfriend recording vocals, for his bands new album, as I discuss with the band mates the difficulty of starting out as an actor, or musician, or artist in our city. But as the day ends, I realize that though it may not be easy, working
jobs to support our dreams, being physically exhausted, possibly not having the opportunities we strive for, I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I do have to act, which is what I love more than anything.
Time to unwind visiting with my mom, who used to be an actress herself. I love hearing her stories, her experiences and getting her advice. And as the day ends and I'm cuddled up with her puppies, I am honestly starting to question our plays NO DOG policy. Cause common....
Aleksandra Michta - a long and HOT day. I made a huge sacrifice and woke up at 7am as we had a company breakfast at 8:30am. I took my lovely “up the hill” bike route to work totally in zombie mode, but it was worth it. Have a look for yourself, Friday company breakfast might get on my favorite list!
I work as a Sales Representative in XTRF – a Polish company that develops project management software for translation agencies. It’s summer, so most of my clients are on holidays (lucky them!), but still I had some emails to answer, questions to solve and calls to make – usual long day at work.
At 5:30pm I was home and I quickly took a very cold shower to energize before the rehearsal. 36°C, seriously? I barely got to the rehearsal alive… And when I got there.. guess what… we did a short WARM UP! game with numbers this time, my “favourite” - l am so good in multiplying by 3:D
We were practicing scene 5… the HOT SEATING (so ironic!) and scene 6. Both with a lot of character analysis, repeating movements and searching for right emotions. I really think we did a good job, but I still must do an extra work on my character and really find a way to relate to her..
Good (and challenging) piece of advice from Don – searching for the inspiration in Kate Bush’s videos.
Well, after rehearsal I just chilled a bit and had dinner in Kraków city beach next to Wisła river (great place by the way!) and I came back home to study videos. And I am leaving you with one of them I'm studying:
Kuba Rudzinski - Beep beep beep... beep beep beep... It’s 6:30 AM, time to wake up and get ready for work. Oh crap! There’s nothing in the fridge. I forgot to buy groceries yesterday. Hmm never mind, I’ll eat breakfast at work. Ok, so brush my teeth, quick shower and off to work. Earphones plugged in to my phone and let’s listen to some happy and fast pop punk to get in the mood. I think I’m going to choose CF98 today. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! Very good idea!
I’m hungry but the cafeteria isn’t open until 8:00 AM, sooooo work! It is workday 1 today so there’s plenty to be done. Work work work work work. Oh, it’s 8:30 now. Breakfast!!! I need a big breakfast as it’s going to be a long day today.
After some meetings and a lot of Excel I finish for today. Now I need to quickly get back to my apartment and do the laundry and then rehearsal! Crap! I still need to learn the additional lines Don wrote for Marco. Ok, read it, memorize it, say it out loud, and reread it again. And repeat and repeat and repeat.
Time to go to rehearsal. What?! My tram is late! Oh no! I will be late for rehearsal. Not good. Better text Don and let him know that I will be late.
Phew! I was late only 2 minutes. Ok, some games as warm up and let’s rehearse!
Today I was playing both as Marco and as James. No time to rest during the rehearsal.
What time is it? 9:10 PM. Time to go back to home. I’m tired today so I’ll take the tram instead of taking a 20 minute long walk.
Finally at home. I think after I finish writing this I’ll watch some movie or an episode of Game of Thrones. Yep, Game of Thrones it is!
So yeah, it was a tiring but a very good day!
Zien Elabdeen - Ooooh…what?? What is this!? Where am I? Why is it so quiet? What happened to the watermelon seller? Why is he not shouting: “sweet and red!!!” No cars beeping?!?! Am I dead yet! Aaaahh, I remember now! I'm not in Cairo anymore, I’ve moved to Poland and this was not a dream. I’m not only in Krakow but I’m a real actor now! A few weeks ago I got accepted to join KKP. My mother was right, I was born a genius. No one believed in my talent, but her. She was always calling me the next De Niro. Well, rest in peace mom, I just took my first step, climbing the ladder of glory. Awww, sound of alarm, I have to get dressed quickly! Rehearsing today and I have to be the first one there! De Niro would never be late for rehearsal! I have to show Don and everyone how great and multitalented I am. The play (“How To Ruin A Great Play!”) is nice, I know the script by heart – that’s one thing. Another thing: I wrote (I created maybe even!) an amazing, totally brand new scene just out of my endless talent. Once Don sees it, he will add it to the play! Or no, he will not add it to the play. He will cancel the play and we will be playing my scene only! I’m sure I’m right cause Magda, Kuba and Sindhu got so excited about the idea and they totally supported me to show it to Don. It must be a masterpiece then. Just to give some highlights, not going into too much details: it is really tremendous as it shows not only my acting talent but also what an extraordinary musician I am:
Yesssss, Don will love it! He will love the idea, he will love the spirit, the plot, the emotion, he will totally fall in love with the rhythm and he will love me: the next De Niro! Now, all the world is beneath my feet! There won’t be “How To Ruin A Great Play!” anymore! There will be Zien and his scene plus many more scenes Don will be begging Zien to write:
Well that was disappointing. (Veeery disappointing.)
Painful, you might say...
But Magda and Kuba turning on me??? (Take the knife outta my back, please.)
Anyways, I’m not giving up! Real artists, genuine talents, giants in theatre never give up!!! They are not understood at first, but after they die the whole world spots their value. And regrets. Oh yeah, regrets a lot.
Now, totally seriously. Big thank you to:
1. Don: for taking me to this great family and making me feel a valuable part of it, for all flexibility, support and patience.
2. Magda and Kuba: for going along with my idiotic idea and humiliating themselves (in front of Don!)
3. Sindhu: for shooting the “scene” and correcting my disasterous grammar
4. All of YOU: without you I’d be just another lost African in Europe...
Sindhu Sankaran - Friday was just like another working day; the usual heading to work ritual except I slept in for an hour more. I could blame it on my inability to hear the alarm, but the truth is I set the alarm to PM as supposed to AM! Great start to the day eh! *Coffee cup count: 1*
I headed to work (I work as a researcher in Social Psychology at both University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University) and drafted a daunting to-do list. Surprisingly I managed to finish them all…except one! (more on that later). *Coffee cup count: 2*
The highlight of the day …let me rephrase that, one of the highlights (if I don’t mention rehearsal as the second highlight, ‘’someone’’ wouldn’t be very pleased) of the day was that I finally managed to submit a research article to a journal. It took us long enough and we can’t wait to see that on print….so fingers crossed. *Coffee cup count: 3*
A friend later decided to visit me at work, so took a break and needless to say we had…...coffee. *Coffee cup count: 4. After he left, I managed to efficiently tick things off my to-do list, until I reached my last point – learn my lines for rehearsal. I still had one more thing to finish at work AND I had get my lines in order. Calvin (From Calvin and Hobbes) once said ‘’Last minute panic brings out a person’s best creativity’’, sadly, I panicked and was a terrible multi-tasker. *Coffee cup count: 5* Out of 9 scenes I managed to learn 3 scenes properly. The last resort if I failed to remember them was pulling the good ol’ ‘’Don, you’ve known me for almost 2 years, you know I’ll get my shit together : )”. *Coffee cup count: 6*. I shut down my computer and headed to rehearsal.
Rehearsal was great especially since we ended up doing the scenes that I knew the lines for *phew*. Having my fellow actor Emma who also plays Hayley in the play around was certainly helpful since she had done this play before. I managed to learn the blocking (movement on stage) watching her. So, it was a very productive rehearsal. Two things that stood out during rehearsal yesterday: 1) Don suggesting a move that activated my ‘’feminist’’ alarm bells 2) The AC was not switched on (don’t get me wrong, I’m from India, I NEED an AC, but 16 degreess??????); so yes, that was a relief!
We finished rehearsal, I met some friends for dinner *Coffee cup count: 7*, came home and played with my cat and that was the end to my extremely productive day!
Magdalena Puchalska - Yesterday, I stayed up till midnight, watching some random interviews with Kevin Spacey from th
e 90s and scrolling through Tumblr. Have been doing this for 4 consecutive days now. I've heard you can learn acting from that. I'll keep you updated.
When I go to school I usually wake up around 5:10AM (just in case!) BUT, because
it's summer holidays, I woke up at 5:30AM today. Gotta take it easy on yourself sometimes, you know?
After a quick breakfast I went for a run. This time I didn't bump into any of my friends or attractive guys, which I took for a good sign. Might have had something to do with the fact that it was 6AM.
On my way to the rehearsal, I made sure to skim over my lines a few times (gotta keep up appearances) while listening to a playlist I made for JODIE (my character in the play) a few months ago. Arrived at 9:18AM, and very smug because I'm always first. But! Guess! What???
Zien beat me to it!
I'm in shock!!!
Rehearsal went smooth-ish. Mostly-ish. We started off with Don and Zien taking bets on whether others would be late - and how late! You know, just the usual stuff.
Jokes aside, shout-out to our new cast members! You're great!
I also need to mention that Don was being extra nice to me today because of this diary thingy. Always appreciated.
I was back home around 4PM. Ate some food, finished rereading As You Like It (because that's what I do in my free time, okay) and decided to stage Hamilton: An American Musical on our staircase. (Apparently my parents are 100% done with Alexander Hamilton I'm going to hell because we have guests coming in 3 minutes.)
My legs are so sore. I don't know if it's from running or the rehearsal. Possibly both. Probably rehearsal.
No interviews with Kevin Spacey tonight. Time to lay off it for a while. I'm going to watch House of Cards instead. Good night!
Sophia Kadar - Today is my first rehearsal with KKP. That thought makes it so much easier to wake up at 6am. To begin, I need to jog and get to the office early so I can make it to the rehearsal in the evening.
But look at these beauties at the place where I'm jogging... They're worth staying here just a little bit longer…
(I'm not a doctor, so no one will die if I get to work at 10...ish…)
Into work and check my mail. Oh, there's an email from Don. What crazy idea did he come up with today I wonder??? Ok, time to work. (Really!)
I'm working in Global Mobility by the way. A business card would probably need to be of an A4-size format to put the title on it, but keeping it short, I coordinate the transfers of our employees between different countries. And here's a video of me moving some people around the globe! (Whilst I walk fast!!!)
Finally! Work is over, but I leave late so I'm now rushing to the rehearsal!
Do you think it's music in my headphones? It was few weeks ago, now there's the recording of my lines from the play. Hope it will help to memorize them...
Rehearsal over and listing to my lines didn't help 🙁
But the rehearsal was exciting, and I still can't stop thinking about how I happened to be among such talented people. Life is funny.
Falling asleep. Sweet dreams to you!