As if there isn’t enough to do in the run up to Mobile World Congress and the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival, some months ago I auditioned to be in Julius Caesar. It was one of those chance things. I used to do a lot of acting when I was younger, but gave it up when I moved to London aged 21. It has always been on my mind to get into it again, but somehow never found the time or the right opportunity. Anyway, a chance tweet in my timeline one afternoon and a couple of days later I was at an open audition in Balham. And lo and behold, I got a part. Well, three small parts actually. That was in October and the twice weekly rehearsals or so didn’t seem to be that much of a commitment.
It is now February, and we’re two weeks less one day from opening night and we have Mobile World Congress at the end of the month too. Oh my word. Lines need to be embedded in my brain. I’m doing a crash course in learning to be a soldier. I’ve learned how to be in a realistic crowd and I’m having to learn to not smile so that I can be a thug. Oh, and I have to find my inner citizen photographer in riot-torn London. The latter is much easier as I happen to know my way round a smartphone.
Crowd workshop video:
It has been an interesting process to get back into acting. I can’t say that I’ve ever been particularly drawn to Shakespeare so I saw this as a challenge. I did it at school of course, but at youth theatre, we never did any Shakespeare, favouring musicals and comedies for our main annual shows. I think the most literary we got was with Under Milk Wood. I was in it three times, with three different directors and cast as Polly Garter each time…
We’ve set Julius Caesar in modern London with the backdrop of riots, political unrest and disenfranchised youth, but with the same script and the added bonus of twitter interaction. The words and meanings are tough to get your head around sometimes and we spent quite a lot of time discussing the scenes and what was actually meant by getting to know the historical context. That definitely helped. Learning by rote is hard though when it’s not your natural conversational language. But we’ve been off-book now for a couple of weeks so it’s all good.
So, friends, Romans, lovers, lend me your ears and buy a ticket for Southside Players production of Julius Caesar. Even if you’re not familiar with Shakespeare, this is the one that is chock-full of lines and phrases we use every day so much of it will be familiar to you. So for the ones of you who can get to Balham in SW London on 15 to 18 February 2012, come on down and make our day! We won’t even ask you to turn off your phone as you can join in with the show on twitter too. Tickets available online at http://www.southsideplayers.org.uk and are just £10.