Six specially selected young drama students (see below) took part in an inspiring workshop led by Philip Quast, who developed a practical approach to exploring text and rhythm while combining two of his passions: song and Shakespeare. The students had to prepare a musical theatre song and a verse soliloquy from Shakespeare.
Adam MORRIS: 'Giants In The Sky' (from Into The Woods by S. Sondheim)
Meghann MARTY: 'Wait A Bit' (from Just So by A. Drewe & G. Stiles)
David KINGSMILL: 'A Bit Of Earth' (from The Secret Garden by L. Simon & M. Norman)
Victoria FISCHER: 'The Miller's Son' (from Little Night Music by S. Sondheim)
Julia's monologue (from The Two Gentlemen of Verona by W. Shakespeare)
Bianca ARLETTE: 'Mr Snow' (from Carousel by R. Rodgers & O. Hammerstein II)
David KINGSMILL: The Winter Of Discontent (from Richard III by W. Shakespeare)
Windson LIONG: 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning' (from Oklahoma! by R. Rodgers & O. Hammerstein)
Working with Philip Quast on the Theatre Royal Haymarket Stage for his Masterclass was a dream-come-true. He is such a brilliant and gracious person! Having not sung in front of an audience for many years, I was extremely nervous. But in less than five minutes Philip had erased my fears. He was two steps away, completely enthralled and engaged in what we were doing. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. I can’t remember a time when I had as many epiphanic moments about my craft; Philip had such a simple yet direct and enlightening way of sharing the way he works. It was an absolutely incredible experience. I didn’t want it to end.
Meghann Marty, Masterclass student
Meghann trained for four years in the United States, first in Chicago, then with The University of South Carolina in Columbia where she obtained her BA degree in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Acting. She has recently graduated from the Oxford School of Drama and is very excited to begin her career in the UK.
Meghann will soon be performing in Laramie at The Space, London.
REVIEW by Eli
I believe Philip Quast's Masterclass (though he preferred to call it an informal "workshop") was a magnificent opportunity for young performers - both the brave ones performing onstage and those in the audience - to learn some invaluable truths about this fascinating art called acting. Quast proved to be the most generous, humble, patient and fatherly tutor anyone can wish (the word "sorry" was banned from the very start), but at the same time hugely knowledgeable and accurate, without ever being pedantic or patronizing. He was totally absorbed in every breath "his students" were taking during their rendition, ready to step in (but never intrude) and give his precious advice. I have lost count of the enlightening references he made to both Shakespeare (especially Hamlet) and Rodgers & Hammerstein's classics (especially Carousel), emphasizing the importance of assonances, of diphthongs and of rhythm in song as well as in verse.
During those blissful 2h30, inside that history-laden auditorium of the Haymarket Theatre, Quast showed successfully that no matter the type of performance - be it a musical number or a Shakespeare monologue - "less is more": there's no use in overacting emotions or making big gestures; meaning the words ("Don't waste your 'buts'! ") and keeping a certain forward tension ("Don't let it drop!") are crucial to getting the message through and capturing an audience. Well done to Adam, Meghann, David, Victoria, Bianca and Windson for putting, so to speak, their talent on the line so bravely.
MASTERCLASS aims to offer young people exceptional creative opportunities and experiences with leaders of the theatre industry. A year-round programme of talks, workshops, special projects and career advice is intended to give people insight into all aspects of theatre from writing and directing to acting and producing. MASTERCLASS strives to provide all the events for free, so that people of all abilities, status and background can be inspired by and learn from masters of the craft. All events take place at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and are open to the audience.
Led by Patrons Peter Hall, David Hare, and Maureen Lipman, past Masters have included Alan Ayckbourn, Cicely Berry, Ruthie Henshall, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Mike Leigh, Adrian Lester, Helen Mirren, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman and Tom Stoppard.
Check the forthcoming events here.
...it's one of the most exciting, and humbling, of things to watch young talent
being nurtured and blossoming before your very eyes; and one of the most
inspiring of things, too, to see the generosity and warmth of someone like Quast
being offered to them, as he passes the wit and wisdom of some of his own
Mark Shenton's Blog, The Stage
This is the very best kind of education - first-hand, practical and inspired; I can't recommend it highly enough.
Sir David Hare, playwright and Masterclass patron