10 Jul 2018

Learning Shakespeare and Mastering the Performance

He is the most influential writer in English literature: Shakespeare. And now our Tier 3 acting students have decided to take on one of his most famous works: King Lear.

Mastering Shakespeare is no easy task, as Tier 3 acting student Curtis Harrild can tell you. After wrapping King Lear with his class last month, we found out what Curtis thought about the production, what it was like performing Shakespeare and portraying King Lear himself.

You just wrapped your performance of King Lear, tell us a little about the production and your character?

The production of King Lear was incredible to be a part of. I really enjoyed the production and watching how director Sean O'Riorden's creative bone brought it to life. The character I portrayed was King Lear himself which was a very difficult, yet not impossible task. I felt like I was able to succeed in portraying the King who had slowly slipped into madness.

This was one of your first productions with AFTT, how do you feel everything went?

This was my second production with AFTT but it's definitely my first heightened language production. It was a blast to be a part of and I'm glad that I'm a part of this group of actors. I felt like I put in 200% and I could see it pay off. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this production.

What key lessons did you learn in the lead up to King Lear?

One of the key lessons I learnt during the production was that Shakespeare can break an actor, but not so badly that you can't get back up. It inspires you to work even harder which makes it not hurt as much when you fall. It is the kind of text that you need to understand in your bones and if you don't, the audience will know. Another key lesson was to breathe and take the time to learn my lines when doing a performance like Shakespeare. If you can enjoy and understand Shakespeare as a whole, it will change your perspective on acting.

How did other classes in your course help you with the production of King Lear?

Voice classes with Jill Brown helped me get the Stamina needed for the production, while Ross Walker also helped me get into my own body and physicalize specific aspects of movements. Other teachers helped me get to the heightened level of language performace that comes with putting on a Shakespeare performance.

What are you most excited for during the rest of your time at AFTT?

I am most excited for the graduation play in Tier 4. This will be the first time we get to work with a new, industry professional director that we haven't worked with before. It's exciting to think about what it will be like working with somebody that is deep in the industry and be given the opportunity to show them the skills I have learnt by bringing a new character to life.

What advice would you have for anybody thinking of studying acting at AFTT?

Some advice that I would give people who want to study here at AFTT is just to do it! Life is too short to miss out on opportunities, especially if acting is something you want to do for a career. If you're committed and ready to learn about this industry then you have to give it a try. The best way to predict your future is to create it and you can create it here at AFTT. Success doesn't just come and find you, you have to go out and get it.
To learn more about studying acting, click here.