Identifying the Key Skills to perform the song “All That Jazz” from Chicago
The main idea of the workshop was to identify and develop the skills required the song “All That Jazz”. First of all we watched the cast of Chicago performing All That Jazz on Broadway. This was to show us how the professionals performed it and to see the professional attitude to performing in general. After this the lesson was split into 2 parts, the first of which we were broken up into gender groups and placed on opposite sides of the room. We then split up the song into the 3 stanzas and then we sang the song alternatively. The song was cleverly thought out so the lads didn’t have to sing lines like “I want to rouge my knees and pull my stockings down” because in general males would not do this action. We then put all this together, and tried it with both genders performing together, and we then attempted this by taking words away to make lyrics stick. After we deemed this to be successful we began to add simple dance steps, however I would say they weren’t really dance moves because dance moves are more complicated, so I will classify this as movement. We then performed this at the end of the lesson fully. Because we focused on singing and dancing, I would say this was more of a musical theatre based lesson.
What Health and Safety considerations did you make?
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Before we did the workshop I did a check on myself, to make sure I was holding any items that could become dangerous items. As a collective group we scanned the floor for bottle caps or something else just to make sure there was nothing that would harm anyone and make them fall over or something. We also had to consider we were in the mirrored room compared to the bigger performance room where we normally work, so we had to alter our movement slightly to make sure we didn’t fall over each other or something because the room was smaller. After all this we were able to go ahead with our workshop.
Identification, description of 3 key skills and explanation as to why we used them
1. Spatial Awareness: This is where you know where everything is and the space that surrounds you. A good performer will be able to use this space more and they will be able to create space for themselves, or even the people they are working with. This should make your performance more engaging for your audience and therefore they will watch your performance more closely. A poor performer will have a limited special awareness, and will rarely move out of the space. This tells the audience that the performer has little to no confidence in their ability and the overall performance become really boring, at which point the audience will switch off and fail to care about the story, let alone understand it! In this workshop we used Spatial Awareness in both disciplines (singing, dancing) however it was more frequent in the dance side as we had to be aware of other people’s movements. The end result was that we all gathered a good spatial awareness as no one bumped into someone else. This meant that our performance looked really slick and the professionalism was second to none. Done really well like we did, this skill should have had the audience begging for more and in some cases even wanting to join in!
2. Timing: Timing is when we plan certain movements or certain notes at certain times, and is most common in musical theatre, as it goes hand in hand with spatial awareness and the dance side to this workshop. A good performer will have good timing and in some cases may be able to change the timing slightly to show originality. This should add to a professional approach and therefore the performance will be even more professional. An awful performance timing wise will mean, certainly in musical theatre that we lose some of the focus towards the other aspects whilst trying to rectify the timing issue, then the whole performance becomes unprofessional and it will look shoddy.
Within this workshop we heavily focused on timing, and this was especially important when we were singing, otherwise males or females may have been singing the wrong lines. This would detract from the whole performance because it is such an obvious mistake and difficult to cover up. This means the audience notice this and they fail to understand why this has happened and will become uninterested. Because quite a few of us didn’t know the song the more we did the song the more we could memorise it and pick up the timing. The dance was also linked with timing as the dance steps had to be in time, and if not then the consequences would be similar to missing a note in singing, aka. A loss of focus, a lack of performance, audience drop off etc.
a) Diction: Is where you ensure that when you are speaking your lines you speak them clearly so that you audience can understand them. This makes a performance a lot better as the audience can understand what you are saying a lot better and therefore can get a better grip for the performance and the story you are telling through your drama. This also allows them to enjoy your performance a lot more and makes them a better audience for you raising your confidence as they are more interested in your performance.
Diction: Diction is how you speak your lines. A good performer will be able to use diction in clever ways and make sure that not only they are clear with diction but will also create different accents to test their diction in an attempt to engage and entertain the audience. This enhances the performance further as the audience understand the words better and they will be able to follow the plot more clearly. A poor performer will have limited diction skills and therefore the audience will not be able to understand parts of, if not all of, the dialogue. Therefore they will not be able to follow the drama/ musical theatre piece as closely and then they will just switch off and pay no attention, meaning you lose self esteem and confidence in your acting ability. We mostly used diction is in the singing part of the workshop, and was really important as the song is a wordy song. At first we really struggled because the timing was difficult and therefore the diction was difficult was hard to achieve, also this diction should have been set for an American, as we were in Chicago.
As we progressed and did the song over and over we got better at this as we worked at it in stages to make sure it was all achievable.
Personal Areas for Development
In the workshop, I uncovered several strengths and ways I could improve my drama/musical theatre skills. These were:
* Good general timing in the song.
* Good memorising of the lyrics.
* Good vocal quality.
* Become more spatially aware.
* Become more confident in my individual ability.
* Keep focused throughout.