So my name is Victoria and here I am again in another production for Theatre Westminster. Last year, I had the pleasure of acting in The Walls, and this year I’ve been cast as Chelsea, aka the Narrator (or the voice of the author) in Theatre Westminster’s production of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
I have to say, I was a bit nervous at first for a couple of reasons. One of the big reasons for this nervousness is the fact that I have never been in a period piece before. This means that I have never been in a play that requires me to take on a dialect and live in a different time period. As anyone can imagine, this makes memorizing lines somewhat difficult, especially if the actor isn’t used to the differences in language. Over the course of the last few weeks of looking through Northanger’s script, though, I can say that I’m finding the challenge refreshing, allowing me to incorporate the understanding I’ve acquired through my English major into my understanding of my character in my theatre major.
Out first few rehearsals were even structured to help us ease into the strangeness of the language. We had one big session with the whole cast (of about twenty people!) where the only thing we did was read over the script out loud, stumbling through every line of the play, and receiving advice from our director and playwright on what different lines meant. The next few rehearsals we spent reading the script again, this time translating all of our lines into modern English in order to help us understand the language. On top of all of that, and scene blocking, we also had rehearsals that were interspersed with British dialect work, which is another experience to add to my list of firsts.
I’m enjoying working on a production like Northanger Abbey with all these wonderful people. The experience is fantastic and, though the hours are long, time really flies when you’ve got a group of friends having a good time.