Interview with Anna Ting
|Anna (centre of the picture) performing with the rest of the cast|
Tell us about the production of The Suppliant Women.
The Suppliant Women is a play that was written by a Greek playwright, Aeschlys, 2500 years ago. It has been translated into a version that is more colloquial to our language now. It is quite special as the performance aspect have been kept as true to what is thought the Greeks would have done it all those years ago.
Of course, it is aimed at a contemporary audience so that are some changes. For example, we wear our own clothing, we needn’t project as far as they did back in the day, and most importantly, we girls play the parts of the Suppliant women instead of young Athenian men who would have done so 2500 years ago.
“By being proactive and taking the first step, not only was I improving my own skills, but I was also contributing to the quality of the show.”
How did you get involved in the production?
I got involved in the production through an audition process. I signed up immediately because I had read amazing things about the show, and was eager about being part of a such an unique piece of theatre. I remember being quite nervous, since it is such a once in a lifetime to be part of this production.
What was your role in your production?
In the production, there is a chorus of young women who play the daughters of Danaos. Everybody in this chorus had quite an important role since the play was about their journey and their story from Egypt to Greece, where they have gone to seek asylum as was where their ancestral mother Io had been. The young women are escaping their cousins the sons of Aegyptos, who want to marry them.
“The production experience was truly amazing. The show on its own held such a powerful message, and the cast, musicians and artists made the process so much more meaningful than I could ever had imagine.”
How did you approach your role?
Before the rehearsal process, I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I had never met any of the people I was about to spend 2 months with, and I had also never done a show of this kind. I think that the most important thing I did as to be positive and open minded about everything I was learning, and always being on top of my game to make sure that I was at the same level as the rest of the cast members. By being proactive and taking the first step, not only was I improving my own skills, but I was also contributing to the quality of the show.
What was the production experience like?
The production experience was truly amazing. The show on its own held such a powerful message, and the cast, musicians and artists made the process so much more meaningful than I could ever had imagine. The bond we created as sisters had such an effect on the show itself, and there were moments before a show, or on stage where it just felt like were one person.
What was the most challenging thing about the production?
The most challenging thing about the production from my point of view was the vocal aspect. The show was expressed through song and is quite heavy on the voice. There were days after rehearsals where I could feel my voice being tired out, and that made me more eager to practice and strengthen my voice even more. Plays and musicals I’ve done in the past rarely have had this much singing and speech, and I found this challenge to be one that I wanted to face with everything I had.
“Since joining Faust as a student leader a year ago, I’ve learnt quite a few skills that have helped me with this role, both on and off stage.”
The show seems very physical. How did you find this experience in comparison with other shows you’ve done?
The Suppliant Women IS very physical, and at the end of each show we are usually covered in sweat. Every movement has a meaning, and a unity between the chorus is needed in order for us to perform as a group. Although I’ve done other shows that involve a lot of dance, this show was different because we were on stage for the entire length of the show. Even when we were sitting still or kneeling we had to use energy just to make sure we didn’t slouch and payed attention to what was going on onstage!
How has your experience at Faust helped you with your role in the production?
Since joining Faust as a student leader a year ago, I’ve learnt quite a few skills that have helped me with this role, both on and off stage. Although I usually assist workshops with the younger children, there are things I’ve learnt or done with them that I believe people of all ages can do. For example, I have learnt several voice and body arm ups from working with different group leaders and throughout the rehearsal process I used several of them before rehearsals and shows, not just for myself, but with the rest of the cast as well. Everyone had lots of fun playing Jelly Beans!
What advice would you give someone wanting to get involved in professional theatre?
There are a few pieces of advice I would give.
- Never underestimate or overestimate yourself! Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not good enough or boast to people about how good you are.
compare yourself to someone else. Focus on your performance and
working together with your cast (if it’s a production) instead of trying
to be better than everyone else.
- Be self-sufficient.
Starting out in performing arts is not easy. You need to put the effort in
to find out about production or courses around you that are accessible to
you, then go for it!
- Don’t be
discouraged if your audition wasn’t
successful. Nobody gets every single audition they go to, and it’s an
important learning process. Try to note down what you think went well, and
what you think you could have done better at auditions and refer back to
them when you prepare for the next one.
- Have fun and
enjoy yourself! No matter how nervous you
might be, for an audition of a first rehearsal, have fun! Introduce
yourself, make friends and put all your energy into those couple of hours.
This will give other people the chance to see how you interact with other
and are a friendly person to work with.
- If you’re nervous for an audition, treat it as a workshop. I think this has helped me the most in auditions. Auditions are basically workshops were you learn a routine, or perform a piece and then get picked. But auditions are also a place where you have the chance to observe other people and pick up new skills. No matter the result, it’s almost certain that you will gain something out of it.