Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Actiontrack 2014

On Saturday evening last the Transition Year concluded their programme with an excellent Actiontrack Showbuild. See photographs here.  One of the participants was the winner of the TY English Prize, Hollie Canning, and here is her account of the week:

Our highly anticipated five days of Actiontrack began on the morning of Tuesday 10th June. Most of us were still wrecked and drained from our active time in Achill but the Actiontrack team brought much enthusiasm, which immediately boosted the mood. 

We began the morning with a name learning exercise. I was astonished to see how quickly each of the instructors remembered everyone’s name and got to know the relatively large group. We then played the famous game "Zip Zap Boing". This game never fails to boost everybody’s energy. We then did some improvisations in small groups. These improvisations would give ideas for our show on the Saturday night. We advanced our improvisations by altering them to different genres or styles. Ours was in the style of an action movie. We showed our improvisations to the rest of the group and they commented on things they liked, found quirky, or disliked. This was a critical stage in our Showbuild because some of the ideas from these improvisations featured in our show. 

On the Tuesday afternoon we did some writing exercises. We started by having 15 seconds to write anything we could think of to do witht the colour red. We then did some word association exercises. Some people ended up with extremely random lists but this was a benefit as we constructed some song titles from these words. I came up with the title "chocolate Euphoria" which was used in the show, and coincidentally I had to sing a solo on it. We then swapped around titles and tried to write songs. That night Nathan and Nick took these songs, altered them, and chose the best for our show. I found it strange how we had the songs we would use in the show because we didn't know what the show would be about. However, the improvisation exercises we did on the first day helped us to be able to link these songs together and form a somewhat crazy, random, brilliant storyline.  

On Thursday we all got our parts along with the script. After we had a quick read-through of the script, we put them down and made a start on the set design. We all did our part in the set design, whether it was collecting branches from the deer-park, painting canvases, or constructing props. Nobody was free to mess around or doss. That evening the soloists were taken off to rehearse our solos with Nathan or Nick. Penny also taught us some of the dances and Molly directed some scenes in the play. 

On the Friday we began our intense rehearsals. We ‘’blocked’’ the script. This means that we went through it very slowly and were directed where to stand or move. This took a while but with a lot of determination and motivation from Nick, Nathan, Penny and Molly, we got through it effectively. 

We spent most of Saturday just polishing off the dances and the set. However when we did a run through of the play we realized that many people didn’t know their lines properly. With the show being at 8 o'clock that night, we were beginning to freak out. When the time of the show came, we were all more excited than anything. We had all had such a great week doing the Actiontrack Showbuild that we were in good spirits. There was still that possibility that people would forget their lines or mess up, but we were ready to improvise if needs be.

The performance itself went very well. The was a great vibe in the BSR and I even saw a few of the teachers tapping their feet to our groovy tunes! Overall I think that it was a great experience to use our own ideas and make a show and I would really urge people to take part when it's their turn. It’s a brilliant few days and I can honestly say I learnt a lot, and my dancing moves have definitely improved!

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