As the company of This Is Your Musical rehearse for their next show, we caught up with Beth to find out what the company have been learning from workshops and masterclasses they've been going to and which exercises national and international improvisers have been sharing.
Since our last few shows, we have all turned into musical improv nerds! We have had the utter pleasure to gain musical improv knowledge from the likes of Duncan Walsh Atknins and Andrew Pugsley from Showstoppers, and Philip Markle from Baby Wants Candy and Blank the Musical, which has been immensely useful and fun!
Showstoppers gave us a more 'musical-theatrey' drive to harness our nerves and turn that into confidence. Rediscovering our confidence, in turn, reminded us to share the responsibility of songs and scenes, rely on each other's ability to carry and generally relax and enjoy the musical we were creating.
Philip Markle really brought some pizazz to our minds with a motto that I adore: "Forget it, love it!" which means what it says on the tin; don't worry about what you're doing and love it, too! His workshop combined confidence-boosters, theory of structure in an improvised musical and technique, whilst also making us all feel happy and relaxed.
I love exercises that boast our scene-work. I recently attended a workshop ran by Susan Harrison (Showstoppers), and she taught us a great exercise that focused on labelling, accepting and playing with emotion within a scene. Two players would turn to face each other and one would label other purely by their facial expression e.g. "You look excited/upset/mischievous etc. This is something that can be difficult to do, as it uncovers a player's truthful reaction when crafting a scene together and requires bravery when committing to an emotion that has been labelled for you. But I found this exercise to be an extremely useful tool when trying to ground a character, and this, in turn, helps with improvising our songs as it allows us to connect emotionally with the audience so that they feel really invested in what you/your character are singing about.
Our last show on the 8th June was titled "Escape Plan"(which is an awesome musical title suggestion!) and followed a story about a young woman, Debbie who got in with a the wrong criminal gang. I somehow ended up playing the ghost of Debbie's late mother who had a confrontation with the leader of the criminal gang. In this confrontation scene, it was revealed that this leader, Billy, was actually Debbie's biological father! The emotional build up in that scene felt very real and tense, which is something that I greatly enjoyed playing with. Love the drama!
Beth Kerridge, Performer
Photography Credit Emma Cordeaux & James Pepper
This Is Your Musical is on Friday 20th July, 8pm. Doors and bar open 7.15pm. We suggest booking as early as possible as previous shows have sold out. Tickets are £5 and can be bought HERE.