(All my sons)
On October 22nd, I was coerced into going to see the play, 'All My Sons' by the director at CYAC as the naturalistic acting style was very relevant to our performance.
'All My Sons' is an American play by Arthur Miller that tells the story the Keller family three years after the disappearance of their firstborn son, Larry. It explores the themes of guilt, secrecy and family loyalty. Performed by the amazingly talented Talawa Theatre company (http://www.talawa.com), the at makes use of audience expectations to really pull out a roller coaster of a tragedy.
As my experience with acting is predominately in the non-naturalistic/physical theatre sphere, I immediately booked a ticket to see what exactly makes a good naturalistic performance. I had been told many times during rehearsals to 'play the objective, not the emotion', something which I was told was done perfectly in this play. So after a long day of Uni, I walked to the Royal Exchange theatre, had a slight kafuffle with tickets at the box office before buying a delicious (albeit slightly expensive) chocolate bakewell tart at the cafe and waited in the foyer. This was the first time in my two years living in Manchester that I had seen any production at the Royal Exchange and I knew nothing about the play, other than the glorified praises sung by our wonderful CYAC director.
For those who don't know the Royal Exchange, the main theatre is set up in the round, which automatically provides the actors with the difficulty of how to engage the entire audience, however I feel that this was achieved easily, through the use of minimalist of set and also not having too many people on stage at any one time.
Now, bearing in mind that my expectations of this play were set very high by all the hype, I hope that you will all appreciate it when I say that it was one of the single most emotional experiences I have ever had in my entire theatrical experience. The beautiful set up was played brilliantly by every single actor, the perfect balance of light hearted scenarios with a slightly sinister undertone of foreboding. I felt that the first half really made use of what wasn't said to really set up the truly biting second half.
Now I pride myself on usually being able to predict plot lines and therefore am usually left with a sense of slight disappointment when I turn out to be right, as half the mystery of the stories for me are ruined. In this play however, I was so utterly caught up in the tragic situation of the characters that being able to guess what would come next actually added to the tragedy as I could see what was coming but couldn't do anything to stop it! I think this helped create a greater connection with the characters and, when I say was a sobbing mess for most of the second half, I am only exaggerating the tiniest amount.
The experience was truly eye opening as an actor, to see just how one can manipulate the emotions of the audience with very slight gestures and tones, to see how we can enrapture the audience despite there being no misconceptions as to what will happen next. It really was, for the most part, a perfect example of 'playing the objective, not the emotion' that made it such an intensely captivating performance. There is no doubt in my mind that given the opportunity, I would spend another £40 in an instant to see it performed again.
It was a truly cathartic experience and I can only hope that one day, I might be able to put this feeling of intense emotion into the audience as well as the cast of this did.
Although the play is no longer on at the Royal Exchange, luckily it will be performed in London in the Open Air Theatre this 2914 summer season and I highly recommend that everyone tries to see it at some point. It was an absolute honour to have been able to see that performance. To book tickets, visit here-
For more information regarding the Royal Exchange version, visit here- http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/event.aspx?id=717
And that's it from me for now so, until next time~