Thursday, June 30, 2011

DAY FOUR


We are here not for the work of the individual, but the work of the person -  to create a community of persons. ANOTHER gem from Ronlin. GOSH What an awesome way to look at theatre. This is a quote that has really hit home especially today. 

One thing i LOVE LOVE LOVE about the work here is that we are constantly reminded to smile. "SMILE! THIS IS FUN!" is often yelled at us when we are running around like mad women and men, sweating and sore. Song is incorporated into our exercises a lot too. Rhythm is life as was explained to us. It is in everything. It is in the way the wind blows and grass grows, our heartbeats. If our work is to imitate life then it MUST have rhythm.  One song we sang today goes as such: (Bradley Theatre students will know this one from class *wink wink* *coughstevesnydercough*)

When I get drunk
On a gallon of Carlo Rossi
I lose control
And I beat people up
And spend the night in the cold hoosegow

Since this week is all about play, we do a lot of complicated ball-throwing games. When we seem to be stuck or getting frustrated, Ronlin makes us sing: YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, MY ONLY SUNSHINE...Today we ended up singing this song for over a half hour while playing this game. And you know what? We got it! The game was so much easier! Ronlin says that sometimes we have to make difficulties more difficult in order to figure them out. By singing we get out of our heads so we could JUST DO. Another gem to live by!

The next exercise was part of The Showers that we were told about. The Showers are a series of exercises that Carlo came up with. They are called the showers because they are to be done like scales, like how often and habitually we take a shower.  We did a cool thing were we walked around the space and it went as follows: notice something "AH-HA!",  go to it, "IT IS!" (to the 'other', notice it isn't "IT ISN'T" (to the other), notice that it really is "IT IS!!!!' (to the other). REPEAT. We did a couple other exercises, but this was the most fun. We were running around like children on a sugar high. It was pretty fantastic. 

We also got a brief taste of masks. Some great pearls of wisdom from Michael, our teacher was: Masks don't hide, they reveal. Masks ask for physical support. The amazing thing about them, is that once the actress or actor inside the mask starts thinking or gets inside their head, the mask goes dead. You have to just do. I love that: just do. Michael briefly discussed style with us he said that style wipes away the mask of naturalism. We are going to go deeper into characters such as masks and red-nose next week!!!!!!!!!! 

Here is an awesome article (and one of the only writings by Carlo Mazzone Clementi). This was suggested to us during our discussion last night: http://www.dellarte.com/dellarte.aspx?id=257

ALSO: for those who have a Kindle (which you can download for free on your computer) the Delsarte System of Oratory is free to download! ENJOY

rush hour on this beautiful day in Blue Lake

DAY THREE

GOD BLESS THE INVENTOR OF ICY-HOT



"I stand, therefore I am. From there I move forward into all things" This is a quote that Ronlin has said to us repeatedly. I never used to think about the beauty of just standing or walking. He describes walking as a play unto itself. There are two opposing forces: horizontal and vertical...and the struggle between the two of them is the play. The simplicity of it is beautiful. 

Today was full of mind candy. We had class in the morning and discussion at night This was lead by Ronlin and Joan. We discussed art and theatre and the burden we carry as artists. I wrote a ton of notes and quotes and poet's names and such that made sense in the moment. Out of context they are kinda all over the place, but I will try to make some sense of them. My mind is buzzing with all the rich and deep knowledge that was presented to me tonight. I want to go and DO. I know this is the place for me. The universe has aligned itself, and I am here and the universe is happy. And I am happy. 

DISCLAIMER: this blog is extremely long and contains a lot a looot A LOT of schtuff.

This discussion was started with a quote from Artaud. Paraphrased it is that theatre exists to remind people that we are not free and that the sky CAN fall on our heads. He went on to explain that theatre is a calling. In each one of us there is something that says "be there".

ANOTHER AWESOME PARAPHRASED QUOTE: Man becomes all things not by understanding them. When he doesn't understand them, he makes them out of himself and transforms them. (this quote gives me chills).


Our work is about how far I can extend myself, how far my image is projected into space. Not about what I am doing in this moment, but how it is affecting the world around me. 

ANOTHER AWESOME PARAPHRASED QUOTE: Is that when our work is eccentric, it is dynamic. When it becomes concentric (revolving around ourselves) it leads to death.

OTHERS STILL:
Self-Consciousness leads to immobility.  

Fear hides behind comfort and is the fuel for courage.

I am a moment swimming in the infinite.

Let go of the things you feel you need to defend.

The actor must journey From-To. The ‘How’ is the character.

When you show an audience this much: |---------------|, they see this much: |--|…BUT when you show them this much: |--|, they see this much: |---------------|. (This was used to teach us about clarity of motions. Simple clear moments tell a much more compelling story than a serious of muddled ones. The audience can fill in the blanks, which makes a profound piece)

Prepare to invite and manifest the mystery.

DID YOU KNOW: That we are hardwired for empathy rather than aggression? The brain waves used to feel empathy for another are the same as when we are going through an event ourselves. INTERESTING!

We had a brief discussion about feelings. A lot of times during acting classes we are asked “How do you feel?” or “How did you feel in that moment”. A lot of times I know what I feel, but I can’t articulate it. Or the words I use to describe a feeling don’t do it justice. Often times I use my body in gestures to describe how I feel. Joan spoke on this. She said that she likes to ask: What do you notice. This is because feelings can be misleading. They lean toward comfort. Focusing on what you notice is more objective. I thought this was a very interesting way to look at it.


One great thing Ronlin keeps stressing is that great art doesn’t always introduce a new idea, but rather it points out what we already know.

We were then read some poems. Here is a list! I found most of them online.
Poet: Billy Collins
1. Introduction to Poetry 

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means. 


2. The Night House

Every day the body works in the fields of the world
Mending a stone wall
Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass-
The grass of civics, the grass of money-
And every night the body curls around itself
And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises
From the body in the middle of the night,
Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom
With its thick, pictureless walls
To sit by herself at the kitchen table
And heat some milk in a pan.

And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe
And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,
And opens a book on engineering.
Even the conscience awakens
And roams from room to room in the dark,
Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof
In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
Singing a song about the wildness of the sea
Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
Then, they all will return to the sleeping body
The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,
Talking to each other or themselves
Even through the heat of the long afternoons.
Which is why the body-the house of voices-
Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen
To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called
Before bending again to its labor.

3. Curtains (I couldn’t find this one online)

Poet: John Moffitt
1.   To look at Anything

To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say,
"I have seen spring in these
Woods," will not do - you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
The leaves,
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.

Poet: Hafiz
1.   A Barroom View of Love

I would not want all my words
To parade around this world
In pretty costumes,
So I will tell you something
Of the Barroom view of Love.
Love is grabbing hold of the Great Lion’s mane
And wrestling and rolling deep into Existence
While the Beloved gets rough
And begins to maul you alive.
True Love, my dear,
Is putting an ironclad grip upon
The soft, swollen balls
Of a Divine Rogue Elephant
And
Not having the good fortune to Die!
2.   Tripping Over Joy

"What is the difference
between your experience of existence
and that of a saint?
The saint knows
that the spiritual path
is a sublime chess game with God
and that the Beloved
has just made such a fantastic move
that the saint is now continually
tripping over joy
and bursting out in laughter
and saying, "I surrender!"
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves."

3.   Maniac Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk
simple today:

God is trying to sell you something
but you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:

your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming

over the price.

4.   Someone Should Start Laughing (one of my favorites)

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?
I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
What is God?
If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,
O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing -
Now!

WILLIAM FAULKNER’S NOBEL PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
         Keep in mind this was over 60 years ago. It is amazing how much this is still applicable today, perhaps it hits more deeply now.


Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail

Here is a link if you want to listen to it: http://nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1397

HEAVY STUFF! I know it is a lot, and I am sure there are things I forgot to include, but I think this is all for now. It is a lot to chew on.

SO I THINK IT IS TIME FOR A CUTE PICTURE!

this is mittens the cat that lives by my house



she likes me. i think it is because we have similar looking footwear.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DAY TWO

SORE
 Characterization must begin at home, in the body. Some of us are not at home in our bodies. We must discover what that means. Therefore the main emphasis of my work is physical discovery."
    ~Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, founder

WOO WOO DAY TWO! I woke up this morning unable to move most of my body. I was sore literally EVERYWHERE. It felt really good, though. It reminds me that I am alive and I am working.

We started our day with Ronlin, in what is called the Watershed room. We did exercises on a sprung floor, which was really nice on my sore feet. He talked about physical theatre and the importance of letting go. Throughout the day we played games that focused on responding to our partner physically. For example: we were split up into groups of five. Within the group, one person would do a phrase of motions that had a clear beginning middle and end. This would spark in impulse in another person which would spark an impulse in another and so on. We ended up having a really awesome conversation with one another just thorough our movements. The next step was incorporating sounds with our movements. The sounds we made we bloops and bleeps and wops and weewooooos and so forth. It was so neat how stories unfolded, completely unplanned and unintelligible, but just based off our movements and sounds, we were conversing.

In our second class we explored the different levels of awareness. It started with complete stasis, then to being completely guarded where our body didn't want to move and gravity was in complete control, then to being present but guarded. We were hiding a part of ourselves. This level as the teacher described it, is the level we live our lives in. The next was awareness, we became aware of the people around us. Next, we are aware of a small audience that has come to see us walk around the space. And finally, we were became aware that we were performing in a Colosseum, in front of millions of people. At times we would just stand with our arms open wide, occupying as much space as possible, embracing all the millions of people around us and we would let out a sustained "HUUUH". This was to let the world FEEL THE FULL WEIGHT OF WHO WE ARE. Every movement we made, we had to visualize the impact it was having on the world. Ronlin explained that when we become concentric (focusing only on ourselves), we go within ourselves and it leads to death. We need to be aware of those around us. We need to be constantly aware of impulses and ready to respond.  

One exercise we did focused on responding to our impulses honeslty. We were back on the sprung floor. Our class split into two groups on either side. We had to run, leap, stop, turn and look at our partner, look out into the audience and say the person's name, look back at the person, have an impulse and interaction with our partner and based on that impulse find a way to exit. This was all in sync with our partner. With each step, we had to make sure to take our time and make each moment clear and committed, even if we didn't know the other person's name (I was called Jezebel... it made quite a funny scene). There were some really beautiful scenes and funny moments that arose out of this exercise. It was amazing how a 10 second thing could be a whole play unto itself.


Some great quotes of the day:
Only out of clarity does beauty arise. 
The essential leads to poetry.


There are no profound plays written about the clown because profundity is inherit in the clown. The clown in intrinsically profound just in it's being, that it doesn't need to verbally express or have a deep plot to be deep. The clown represents what is in each one of us: our darkest and most vulnerable selves. The essential leads to poetry.

I love physical theatre because our bodies tell such a beautiful story. We, as people feel things and understand things within our bodies in a much richer way than our minds could ever try to understand. We can tell such simple and beautiful and honest stories, just based on how our bodies move. Characterization is formed before a character even speaks, it is how they occupy and manipulate the space around them. That is so beautiful. It makes me wonder what story my body is telling and what ripples it is causes in the universe.

DAY ONE

NERVOUS
So, before I start talking about what happened today...last night was pretty awesome. I met up with Drew Gilbert and he showed me around Blue Lake. He brought me to the the waterfall which was pretty amazing, and to Carlo Mezzone Clementi (the founder of Dell'Arte's) grave. Pretty sweet!!! It is so nice to have an anchor here. I love and am so grateful about how our Bradley Theatre community is everywhere and looking out for one another.

Ok! So, now onto today. Now, I knew I wasn't in the best of shape, but i didn't realize quite how OUT OF SHAPE I was. We started our day with a brief orientation. We had a tour of the 2 Dell'Arte buildings and town. We then had our first class with Joan. It began with a pretty typical name game. After that we played another game. It is kinda like simon says except there are only five commands: stop, go, turn, jump (jump a half turn), and twirl (jump a full turn). We walked in a circle and Joan would call out a command. If we got it wrong or were off balance at the end of it, we were out. Guess what...I WON!!! I think Ice Skating helped with the twirls. We then laid on the floor and focused on our breathing. We slowly began doing stretches while laying down and slowly worked our way off the ground. At our own pace we were instructed to move around the space leading with different parts of our body. By the end of the exercise we were sprinting and jumping and twirling around the room. This exercise took about an hour and half. Our next thing was similar, except we were 'in a forest' we had to move around the space as if we were running away from something or avoiding danger. Except for this only a certain number of people could move at a time. So we would move and hold, move and hold, move and hold. TOTALLY EXHAUSTING. The last exercise was a game we have played in Steve's acting class. We were in a circle with one person in the middle tossing the ball back and fourth around the circle and someone would have to jump in and replace the middle person after three throws.

LUNCH BREAK

Our second class was with Ronlin. We started off walking and practically running in second circle (which means alert, making eye contact, spacial awareness, and trying to cross middle as often as possible). He would stop us, and with the same intensity we had to move in slow motion. We then  had to fall and catch ourselves for about an hour. This was to teach us how to let go and enjoy the fall. This was sooo much tougher than i thought it would be. But it is extremely hard to just let yourself fall and fight against the natural tendencies to stop the fall. Afterwards, we split up into three circles and had a dance party-for about 45 minutes. Ronlin supplied the beat and we danced. There was one person in the circle, they had to dance and then have an engagement with someone on the perimeter, invite them in, dance with them and then go back to the perimeter. Sweaty and out of breath at the end, we had to walk around the space with our arms up and sing "You Are My Sunshine". Our assignment for the week is to come up with a game to teach and play on friday.

After class some of my roommates and I went down to the beach to relax. It was a bit chilly though.



I met up with my group to talk about our game. This is what happened:


video
This is Cooper. A fabulous new clown friend. Being at this school is so awesome! I am so grateful to be in a place with people who have a similar passion for physical theatre. SO AWESOME!!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Travel Day

Today was my day of traveling. Since my flight left at 6:02 AM, I didn't get much sleep last night. I stayed up all night and packed and snuggled with my dog and packed. I had to do a lot of juggling with my luggage. Since food isn't provided (for the most part)  I brought some food with me, we were also encouraged to bring our own bedding and I CANNOT for the life of me pack light, so I had to figure out where i could put my stuff to avoid being over the 50lb weight restriction. This was extremely frustrating, but after going through about seven different luggage/packing combinations, I got it squared away and I was off!

O'Hare at 4 AM is interesting. Everyone is grumpy and groggy and yelling at each other. So I just popped a Dramamine and dozed off on the plane for a couple hours. I think the couple next to me on the plane were newly weds heading to their honeymoon OR SOMETHING because they were super snuggly and kissy and huggy and cute and blegh. I had a quick layover in San Fran and took a tiny jet to Arcata Airport which is several miles outside of Blue Lake. Overall it was a very smooth flight AND I got a free refill on my drink!

tiny little plane
view from the plane

another view: LOOK AT ALL THAT SNOW!!!
I FINALLY MADE IT TO DELL'ARTE! The town of Blue Lake is itty bitty at best. It is super adorable. It has two bars, a B&B, hot dog/burger place and a thrift store. And that is pretty much it. But it is super pretty! A river  runs through the town and there is a nice little beach you can go to and relax.

THE FRONT DOOR!
The building I am staying in is called The Hotel. It is completely furnished including utensils and pots and pans. It has about 8ish rooms, two bathrooms (each with a shower) and a big kitchen.   




Here is tour of my room. Is is way different than the cabin I stayed in last summer.
One of the first things I did when I got here, was go to the beach.

Welp, that is all for now. I have orientation tomorrow morning and class! Woo! Look out for a blog tomorrow!

Weather: 68degrees - clear skies

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Packing blues

It seems like only last week I was packing up and leaving on a 6am flight to Colorado to work as a camp counselor at Perry Mansfield. Not much has changed this year, except I am flying to CALIFORNIA to study at DELL'ARTE! That is right, I am about to become a California Gurl (heh heh).

I am currently in the process of packing...but decided to take a break to start my blog! I am going to be frequently posting updates with details about my life at Dell'Arte. Jeremy did a wonderful job on our blog last summer and now the apron strings are cut and it is my turn! I am nervous/excited/nervous to go, but I think it will be just as life changing as Perry Mansfield was..and if anything, I know I am going to learn a ton!

But right now I am desperately trying to pack. Packing has become the bane of my existence. Despite my attempts to pack light, I still manage to need more luggage than any one person should handle AND feel like I am forgetting stuff.

DANG YOU UNITED AND YOUR BAGGAGE POLICIES AND HIGH PRICES!