Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Act, Sing, Laugh" Background, Experiences and Mentors

Having met my now long-time friend, mentor and singing teacher Antonio Maria Lancuba in late 2000, I would not have imagined that some of my vocal practices and knowledge would, from that point on, have changed so dramatically and largely for the better!  After training intensely with Antonio, Voice Specialist and Director of AML Golden Voice Studios (Melbourne, Australia) for extensive periods between 2000 and 2008, I truly came to understand and then began to teach others, the beautiful art of natural, open-throated and physiologically-free, singing.  I was and am so grateful for Antonio’s training and brilliance and for his friendship and guidance, both vocally and personally.

In this context, my meeting, in early 2009, with world-renowned artist, playwright, actor and director John Lee Joo For was not without great temporal and practical significance.  I met John one night through a mutual friend and, as if divinely ordained, John asked me if I had ever composed music for a musical.  I replied that I had composed many songs, but not as yet, for a musical.  Lo and behold, after weekly group training with John in drama, theatre and physical acting for about 7 months, followed by a number of acting and singing workshops, and John presenting me, in 2009, with the script of the eventually entitled “Man of Assisi” (a musical about St Francis and St Clare), in September 2013, the “Man of Assisi” musical was born onstage in 5 action-packed shows!  This was a theatre production that ultimately took the best part of 4 and a half years to be realised, and for which I was very honoured and humbled to be the principal composer, co-director, musical director and co-choreographer and to play the lead role of St Francis in 3 of the 5 shows.

Concomitantly, my journey in January-February 2013, at the heart of the European winter, to a place just below the heart of France, was particularly pertinent in my development personally as an actor and performer.  Our wonderful French lecturer and mentor of this and a number other French subjects, Raphaël Trantoul, having been a theatre actor and performer himself, beautifully and effectively guided myself and the 15 other young male and female students, through the process of preparing for and then performing, a theatre production (in French!) and advantageously, emphasised the importance of working individually and as a team.  This was primarily represented by Raphaël’s numerous and somewhat humorous exercises, which sometimes involved, in rehearsals, the students acting as a “school of fish”.  Later on in my theatre studies at university, my lecturer Dr Rob Conkie, in a Shakespearian context and, in theatre and drama more broadly, further accentuated the significance of working as an ensemble and “feeding off” each other’s lines, gestures, energy and movement and, in addition, as also highlighted by actor and lecturer Tom Considine, the importance of connecting with particular and relatable life moments.

By Antonio Rullez (c)2016

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