Where have the last three days gone?!? This week has completely FLOWN by! I have a lot to cover, so let's get started!
This week's Daily Practice was all about the Ensemble and how the ensemble warms up. We began in 1st circle and just moved our bodies. We worked our way up to noticing others around us, then responding to them. As we walked around the space, together we had to find the rhythm of our walking. This became a 1,2,3 with the emphasis on the 1. The emphasis then shifted to the 2. We were instructed to move our entire body in anyway we wanted, fast or slow, to play with stillness, but to maintain the 1,2,3. It was pretty moving to hear and feel everyone in the space moving to the same rhythm. Breath and voice were also utilized.
We then moved onto a Chekov exercise called legato-stegato (sp?)...meaning slow and fast. We were to as an ensemble, throw our energy with our bodies to the right, left, up, down, forward, backward, repeat. The legato was a slow throw and a slow retract where the stegato was a fast throw and a fast retract. We did each twice through. By the end of the exercise I could really feel a rush of energy fly past me as those around me were throwing it. It was really powerful and cool. I admit, I didn't know if I would be able to get into it, but I just let my mind be open and I really did feel it. It was so amazing.
This week is all about our devised piece. We still have Daily Practice in the morning, but all the other time is dedicated to creating and rehearsing our piece. And we use every minute of it! Our new project's theme is: Arrivals and Departures (via the Lecoq pedagogy, this is a melodrama theme). Our work is to be a told in 5 minutes. The core of our "play making" at Dell'Arte rests on Character, Situation, Circumstance. Carlo stated in his article that HOW is a character. We are to explore rhythm, pace-timing, interruption, goals etc. We are to take nothing for granted, not even how the foot rests on the ground. Basically, we have our work cut out for us this week. Ronlin said that we are to be a chemistry lab, to mix things up and see if they blow up. To investigate. He also said that they were going to try to confuse us a lot so we would come to know our own point of view. (I am in love with that...after he said this, the past three weeks totally clicked)
We were given three hours to come up with a proposal. My group brainstormed for the majority of the time.
MY CRAZY AWESOME GROUP
Our ideas included:
Something from Poe, something from kafka, and ordinary guy having a convo with death, something with a train station, a local man from Blue Lake's story (next time you see me, ask me about this...it is truly amazing!), or stuff that could happen in a real five minute time span i.e. finding something that was lost, losing something, finding a lost child.
We then broke down each thing and picked out the essence of each one to see what about them we were drawn to. We realized we liked the darker and more tragic stories. We revisited our original idea of Poe. We read a number of his short stories: Berenice, Facts and the Case of M. Valdemar, The Imp of the Perverse, The Old Portrait, The Tell-Tale Heart. We discovered that in each of his stories, there were Poe's archetypes: Obsessive male, Authority figure who passed judgement, female victim, servent, investigator/reporter/doctor, and the conscience. We decided to do our version of The Tell-Tale Heart titled Beat.
During the proposal, Ronlin and Joan said they were going to try to confuse us so we would come to know our point of view. And confuse us they did. Here are some words of advice they gave to our our group as well as some others:
* How one can reflect on the myth and have the present be the central focus. (the majority of the groups were planning on doing adaptations of myths or short stories)
* Frame piece as an arrival or departure or one leading to another.
*Move scope to focus on specific.
*Be sure NOT to represent story, but SHOW action.
*What is the significant arrival or departure.
*Work forward from the most essential
*BOOK TO READ: Chaos Theory
*OPERA TO WATCH: Nixon in China
*be specific NOT Explicit. The more specific we are the more outcomes can be implied or suggested.
*We can create myths of our own time in how we give concrete forms varieties.
*If you move into the core of the piece, it unfolds into infinity. Write as if going into a sphere.
*If you get taken by embellishments, it becomes mush and you lose the essential.
*Specificity is not to go toward realism/naturalism, but authenticity.
* To choose is not to abandon, but how to move from one place to the next.
*It is a bumpy road to irony.
* Character-Situation-Circumstance, in that order
*Don't discount the use of nothing.
ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE: TODAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY! My Dell'Arte family made it the BEST birthday i have ever had. Despite the long and frustrating day we had in working on our devised pieces and the cold rainy day, they threw a lovely party for me! My group went to a couple grocery stores to get ice cream and cookies. We all met at one of my classmates apartments and had an ice cream social. Everyone came. It was a great fun hanging out with EVERYONE outside of class. But, of course, where there is a large amounts of sugar and music, there is a DANCE PARTY! We ended the night watching Ronlin's favorite movies, one that he constantly alludes to: The Matrix. For my birthday gift, i received a new journal that everyone had written in. I am so incredibly grateful for having met this amazing group of people. Who knew that a mere three weeks ago, we had not known that each other even existed, and now i feel closer to them than most people. My heart explodes with love whenever I think about you guys!
you all make my heart do flips of joy!
Today began with Daily Practice, as usual. Today was all about feeling each other's energy within the group. We walked around the space. As instructed, we had to find someone else's back with our back. We then had to massage each other's back by just moving around. Then we had to leave with purpose. Next, we had to connect arms with someone by just following their energy. Then we had to leave with purpose, then a lingering leave. Finally we had to find a hand. We would leave the hand and then return. Leave and return. Joan planted the question: what makes you not want to leave? With that in mind we repeated the exercise. Our last exercise was walking. We walked in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd circle. We would mix and match the circles with stops and goes. For example: we would walk in 1st, stop in 3rd, walk in 2nd, stop in 1st. etc. We observed one another and paid special attention to the energy shift when the circle would change.
Because this week is dedicated to our devised project, Nicholette talked to us about her thesis which was about working in an ensemble to create a devised work. The time frame her group had was 8 weeks, 6 for rehearsals, 2 for performances. They began by all reading the story they were centering their piece on (Flannery O'Conner's Good Country People). They all brought in images, props and costume pieces to rehearsals. These lived in the space they worked in everyday. This helped them because they were constantly living in the world of their piece. They wanted to explore Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty and the violence he suggests: making bold strikes into the space and what emerges from it. They also wanted to see how expansion is found through strict restrictions, how to find the comedy of it. And finally, dynamic relationships-transcentance between all aspects.
What if theatre is really alive? What is the responsibility of the theatre makers to take care of it? How do we keep it breathing, but know it has a life of it's own?
They began their month with three weeks of uncensored play.They video taped everything. They also tried every proposal other group members had. In the third week, they brought in the audience into rehearsals. The audience was able to give them feedback and suggestions. In the fourth week, they documented everything from their video footage. From this they had over 60 characters which they shaved down to 4 for their final piece. They also wrote down key themes and lines that came out of the three weeks.
"It's not what you care about, it's about what the piece needs". She stressed that we have to understand that there is a thing out there that we have to channels, it speaks through us...we just have to channel it. The character exists outside of all of us. All together we have to find the character, the mind has to click out to allow the character to come through. In working with a group, she believes that no one should have to compromise, but have to know when to stop to deal with a problem and when it can be dealt with later. Also that you have to continuously deal check your ego so you know when it is coming through and how to let it go to serve the work.
This talk was so inspirational for this week. It was just what we needed to be able to keep going forward with our piece.
My group continued to work on our piece. We began every rehearsal with a check in. We would all stand in a circle with our arms around each other and just say how we were feeling, any concerns we had, stuff weighing on our minds etc. We ended it with a group hug. It was really amazing how this pretty cheesy ritual really helped to ground us and got us through some sticky moments. It is definitely a ritual I am going to carry on with me.
Here are some of the key points we came up with for our piece:
* The killer killed their victim so he/she could totally control them, but in death the heartbeat is controlling the killer.
* We wanted to zero in on the passage to the killer's breaking point.
*The Beat is controlling him.
* The friends come out of concern because their phone calls have gone unanswered.
* The dialogue they have is minimal: We called, You didn't asnwer, Are you ok? (For example). These will be in 3/3 while the beat is in 4/4. The killer moves and responds with the beat. Finally the dialogue moves to the killer's mind and is just "Are you ok?"
We staged the piece so the hallway could be playing space. We also set up flats so the space was totally enclosed and the audience would be close to the playing space. We liked that they were close because the killer feels the world closing in on him and the audience would get the same feel. We also wanted them to walk down the hallway into his "house" and before the piece started, the killer would already be in action. We rehearsed late into the night. We took turns watching the piece and doing the 'Beat". By the end of the night, we were all paranoid. We were jumping at every little sound. We all nearly screamed when we heard another group walking toward the room and upon entering turned on the lights. Our piece felt totally alive and it was scaring us. We filmed the last run of our piece which is still EXTREMELY ROUGH. We were still playing with things and not completely worked or set in stone. This run was also the first time we set someone in the box. This run was the first and only time we screamed. It was a totally authentic scream because seeing a body in there was TERRIFYING!
Please see next blog for the full process of our piece: Beat.
Today was our critique day. After only a day of prep, we had to show our rough drafts to the class and teachers. Here are some notes given to the other groups as well as us.
*Good farce is extremely clear. The simplest thing is the best. Make desire simple and breathe more.
*Different between archetype (which is good) and caricatures (which is bad) is the mannerism you produce. Take time to define desires of archetype, felshed out with genuine physical truth. It becomes caricature when it rests on the mannerism.
*Intentional changes-shifts in tempo and space.
*Can tolerate weirdness if there are clear characters.
*Life is a series of interruptions. Character is how people respond to interruptions.
*The default of playing children is that we use "play" as a way of not engaging in story. Decide what the opjective is. Select who you are what what your job in the progression of the story is.
Later that evening Ronlin had a final colloquium with us. Here are some notes from that:
*Work comes out of a person. Development of one to know oneself.
*Physical self discovery in process of engaging others.
*RESPONSIBILITY OF POET: HOW YOU SPEAK. YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO FIND YOUR OWN TECHNIQUE.
*BOOK: Out of Martha's House
*We need courage to be vulnerable. To step out onto the stage into the mouth of a wolf.
*Work demands you must do more than see -> feel and do -> taste.
*Physical contact through all the senses.
*Work of the poet is one that you ahve to listen for-work , expecting to play and be engaged.
*Be consistant in your determination.
* The effort you put in is not for a particular piece, but for the experience.
*BOOK: The Naturel way to draw
*BOOK: The Art Spirit
*Invent technique to fit your need.
* Use raw material each time to twist into shape.
*Rather than using a stock of techniques, each time, create a new technique to fit your need...just like a snake doesn't crawl into another snake's skin.
*VERY FEW PEOPLE THINK WHAT THEY THINK THEY THINK.
*Find the technique that fits my compelling. FROM THE CENTER OF MY OWN JOY.
* Be as strong as possible in the making-out of it comes art.
*BOOK: Flannery O'Conner's: Nature and tha aim of fiction.
*Naturalism: detail because it is natural, not because it is the world we are in.
*Art: Truthfullness of the essential. It is essential because it creates movement.
*Simple images accumulate importance.
*Only when artist is fed up or desperately seeking divine help, will inspiration come.
* With inspiration, ditch everything and take a leap.
*Sublimation: Inspiration, the step that is missing, mystery, spirit of man
*Fiction: reader has a sense that it is unfolding around him. Is presented rather than reported. You are the piece.
*Demonstrate something that you cannot be done in any other way
*The more you look at an object the more you see within it.
*BOOK: Mystery and manners. Nature of Fiction in Writing.
The colloquium finished. We all were pretty inspired, as per usual when we finish up our talks with Ronlin. He then said to meet back in an hour to watch one of his favorite movies: Kung Fu Hustle. A movie which contains very clear story telling, and very clear characters, including commedia, clowns and clear and specific archetypes. We all came back and he had brought beer, soda and was busy popping a ton of popcorn. It was incredibly heart warming. I love how the professors here are willing to be up til close to midnight watching a movie and providing beverages and snacks for their students. The level of love and care they give to their students is amazing. I know this is the place I need to be.
So today was Annie and Mary Day in Blue Lake. Here is a brief summary on the history of the day:
Stories differ as to how the Arcata and Mad River Railroad got its feminine nickname. Popular common lore is that the Arcata to Korbel line was named Annie and Mary Railroad in honor of clerks working at each end of the line. However, in a 1969 research paper on the relatively short line, author David Clark noted that the nickname could have easily arisen from Annie and Mary Vintera, nieces of one of the Korbel Brothers, owners of the timber company at the east end of the rail line.
I am so sorry I am late! I have so much to talk about! It has truly been an inspirational couple of days. I am gonna just talk about EVERYTHING so...get comfy! (exciting part at the end!)
I will start off this blog with a quote from Joan:
"If I'm thinking about loosening my neck, opening my throat to speak, being responsive, and communicating this idea, I don't have time to worry about whether I'm any good or not."
"Every sound in the theatre is valuable. Let go of what you think you SHOULD sound like"
She went on to tell us about theatre and how many are in it 'to be seen'. But really, it isn't about being seen by the audience, but how we can best serve a story. How we can become a voice for the character we are embodying. I love the selfless approach this school enforces on it's actors. I feel like we have all heard this speech before. But here, it shines through in every work, class and way professors, faculty and full time students of this school act towards the work and with one another. It is beautiful.
In continuing to work with the Alexander Method, we did several exercises that are about total release from the tensions we hold in our bodies. For one of the exercises we were put into groups of three. One person (person A) rested on their hands and knees. Another would hold Person A's head and the other would hold their stomach, making sure both were completely released. In this position, it helps you to breathe more deeply. We had to count to ten (1, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4 etc) and then speak out text. It was so strange, it must have been that i was breathing more deeply or more connected to my breath or SOMETHING because the voice I heard did not sound like or feel like it was coming from me. Coming out of it, I felt totally loosey goosey. I had no tensions at all and it felt like my voice was more grounded. If anyone is interested in experiencing this, let me know! I will be more than happy to assist! To end the class we were introduced to another method of stretching/releasing called The Feldenkrais Method. Here is more information: Feldenkrais Method. By the end of class, I felt like i grew a foot. It was great!
For Daily Practice we were told we were going to do something completely different....and they weren't kidding. Instead of our normal workout/acrobatics...we had an hour long movement jam session. It was beautiful and amazing and I have never felt as close with a group of people as I did after this. I will explain. We were instructed to lay on the floor. We then had to let our eyeballs lead us to a point in the room or person and have the rest of our body follow. Music was added: MUSIC! What began as moving from one point to another turned into a an hour long movement piece. We all worked with one another, moved around the space as separate entities with a mind for the whole. It was really beautiful. None of us had a plan or knew what we were doing. It felt like going into a trance and out of this a beautiful story emerged. Love stories, rivalries, war, fighting for survival, assisting one another, funerals, celebrating, mourning and many others emerged. We had to totally rely on and trust one another. Many times we all slowly came together in the middle to create a dynamic and beautiful picture. We were all committed. It was so amazing how a group of individuals, not even knowing what the exercise really was, could work together to create in the moment like that. We would never be able to replicate the magic that happened in the same exact way. I like to think of how bands get together to jam. This is the physical actor's way of jamming. We ended up going through the entire Gladiator soundtrack. Sweaty and out of breath we held our ending pose for a solid minute. Some people were carrying someone, others were in a pile, I was in an embrace. It was as if we needed each other to survive....and in many ways, we do. MORE MUSIC TO ACCOMPANY YOUR READING!
The program and progression of events is so planned out and is done in a way that is magical here. It was good that we had such an intense bonding experience, because in our next class we had to sing in front of each other! eep! We began with a warm up (rolling on the ground letting out sound) and then working up to sustained sound. Our class split up, half on one side of the room and the other half on the other side. One side would match the pitch Joan played on the piano and sustain the note as we were releasing the sound we had to move our bodies as if we were telling the people across the room a juicy secret. They had to mirror our movements. This was nice because it got me out of my head about whether or not I was hitting the note. In the next exercise we were elves...releasing on a EEEE we had to match the note Joan played on the piano. We were to walk around the space as needy elves and tell each other juicy secrets. Next we were Opera singers about to sing our Aria. We had to parade around the room and then release on DIVAAAAAA matching the note. We then had to look around the room and react to the others in the room. Finally, we had to cross the room three times. First, we had to picture our head was a basin of water and we had to vibrate the water in our head. While crossing, we could not let any water slosh out of the basin. Second, our chests were water basins and finally, our guts. For me, the gut basin was the hardest to vibrate. I knew we were going to have a singing day. It was what I was THE MOST nervous about in coming here. But not once did I feel like I was in an unsafe environment. I definitely have a lot I still need to work on, but I am ready!
SOOOOOOOOOoooOOO now onto our PERFOMRANCE LAB! As you may recall we had to create a place or event orally and aurally. My group originally planned to do a whole bathroom sequence where a person would enter, pee, poop, wash their hands, spray and leave. However, as we did research we found that just a toilet flush was complicated and beautiful in and of itself. SO THAT IS WHAT WE DID! We recorded several toilet flushes in the Dell'Arte training building. We then sat around replaying the recording over and over and over again trying to replicate the sounds with our mouths. Water on ceramic is a very difficult sound to make with just our body parts. But I think we did a good job! Ronlin and Joe loved the texture we had...Ronlin then said he had to fix the toilet hehehe.
This is the toilet we recorded for our research
Here is our toilet! We cut it down quite a bit, but tried to stay true the real timing of a toilet. One member of our group acted like a conductor so we could all be in sync.
One thing that was brought up throughout our different performances, was the difference between mechanical and organic sounds and how we keep them apart. The more specific groups are with their sounds the more successful they were. The project was about perfecting resonance, articulation and texture. We had to resonate an entity rather than imitate and incidental sound. Question to ask yourself about this project an about characters: What is the dramatic quality of the thing I'm observing?
NOW ONTO THE EXCITING PART!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAH
The last show in the Mad River Festival is a show called Three Trees. Joe and Stephanie (two of the professors I have had here) and another professor here at Dell'Arte, Lauren acted in it, and Ronlin directed. They created their clowns in a workshop led by Ronlin and eventually devised a piece called Bluff. Starting in August they began working on three trees. They kept their characters and relationship to one another and even some bits. Here is a synopsis from the Dell'Arte website and program:
Ten years after their debut as a clown trio at Dell’Arte, Joe Krienke, Stephanie Thompson and Lauren Wilson return to the stage in a brand new work of clown theater. “Three Trees” tells the story of three circus clowns who defy their country’s militarism and lust for war, unleashing the subversive power of laughter through the hilarity of their routines.
When war breaks out and the military takes command of society, the clowns create a routine so funny it paralyses the rank and file with laughter. What if, instead of following orders, soldiers began to laugh hysterically at those who gave them? What would become of war, and of those who caused such laughter in the first place?
A mixture of rollicking clown routines, metaphysical humor and poetic theatrical imagery, “Three Trees” is a powerfully funny and poignant celebration of the clown, and of the irreverent power of laughter in the face of military insanity.
In the talk back they told us that they would get together for three hours everyday and jam. Someone would bring in a proposal or a script (Lauren is also a playwright) and they would try the scene as it is written and then develop it. The laughing and physicality of it, they said was the hardest. It was so beautiful and tragic, i couldn't help but tear up and cry and couple times throughout the piece. Their characters were so specific. Every nuance and tactic was played full out, they never dropped out. I saw the show twice. The show morphed with the change of audience energy. It was so amazing how they were able to do that! Under Ronlin's direction they brought even more focus on the character and bringing character to the forefront. After all a play is about CHARACTERS. From character, relationships were created and from there, routines. Because of the nature of the clown intentions in relationships became cyclical. This makes the work so rich and moving.
For a while I have been trying to come up with way to do a show in red nose. Clowns are a beautiful entity. They are able to tell some of the most poignant stories and touch on topics that humans just can't quite reach. There is a beautiful quote posted in the bathroom here at Dell'Arte. It says:
"The genius of clowning is transforming the little, everyday annoyances, not only overcoming, but actually transforming them into something strange and terrific. It is the power to extract mirth out of nothing and less than nothing." ~Grock
After seeing this show and going through this workshop, the once spark of wanting to devise a clown show has become a wildfire. I have not been able to sleep at night because I can not stop thinking about it. Congress of the Clowns by Joel Schnecter (*wink wink*) was a suggested read from Joe on some research they had done that was beneficial for them. If any of you have any suggestions or ideas or stories about clowning please share them with me! I would love to hear anything and everything about it!
"The clown has great importance as part of the search for what is laughable and ridiculous in man. We should put the emphasis on the rediscovery of our own individual clown, the one that has grown-up within us and which society does not allow us to express."
— Jacques Lecoq
Aerial Silks! My other new addiction. After just one week of pushups, handstands, back bends and Ab Ripper...I could feel a tremendous difference in what I was able to do this week versus last week. I was able to climb the silks and hold myself up to do (and attempt to do) new tricks. We are planning on going again on Wednesday. I CANNOT wait! I hope I can keep up with this after I leave here.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LIFE AND THIS SCHOOL AND ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE I HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF TRAINING WITH AND GETTING TO KNOW.
Thank you for enduring this long blog. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
More work with the Alexander Method and freeing up tensions in our body to our voice to flow more freely. For those who do not know what the Alexander Method is here is a brief overview: Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique is a way to feel better, and move in a more relaxed and comfortable way... the way nature intended.
An Alexander Technique teacher helps you to identify and lose the harmful habits you have built up over a lifetime of stress and learn to move more freely.
The Alexander Technique is for you if you are ready to feel more comfortable in your own body.
The Alexander Technique can also help you if:
You suffer from repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.
You have a backache or stiff neck and shoulders.
You become uncomfortable when sitting at your computer for long periods of time.
You are a singer, musician, actor, dancer or athlete and feel you are not performing at your full potential.
The description sounds like something someone in the medical field would use. A lot of work we have done is releasing tensions and relearning simple things like walking and standing and sitting and picking something up off the floor in a way that is completely tension free.
Words of wisdom from Joan: When you release tensions you hold, which make you appear a certain way and as certain characters, the possibilities to be new and different characters opens up to you.
We then worked on our text. We partnered up and worked on speaking our text in second circle (see previous blogs for a description on what second circle is). We had to use our body weight and balance each other out. If we slipped into first or third circle we would be thrown off. The 'performative' nature that often comes with doing a monologue went out the window when we had to hold each other up. With the new space we created from exercises we did to release tension and knowing our text cold, we were able to deliver our piece with honesty and a new voice we didn't know we had. It was truly amazing. Our voices are changing. I was even able to sing after class!
In our class with Ronlin we all played a game of tug-of-war. With two on each side we had to play to win while reciting our text. This was not supposed to be a contrast of action and text, but text through the action. We then repeated the game and had to play to win and recite our text while laughing. This focused on where the source of sound came from (our pelvis). We again partnered up and pushed and pulled each other while the other resisted. This play of pushing and pulling was another example of the importance of being grounded and letting sound come from our guts.
We got our assignment for our performance lab on friday. We have to create and aural environment. Out of that has to be an event with a clear beginning middle and end. My group is doing a bathroom and someone peeing and pooping. tee hee hee..........
AND NOW A VIDEOOOO!!!
Here is a demonstration of forward rolls and back shoulder rolls.
My first back shoulder roll is poopy..so please ignore that one. ENJOY!
More embodied voice. Today was a lot like Steve's Voice class. We worked on letting go of the tensions in our body and feeling the vibrations of our voice throughout our bodies. We partnered up. Our partner put their hands on different parts of our body and we had to send our voice and vibrations to their hand so they could feel it. We then worked on their back. We threw our voice and vibrations into their back so they would feel it and produce a sound in response. I wasn't very good at it, but my partner did a great job of finding a good spot on my back to throw the vibrations. When I opened my mouth, it was like his voice was coming through me. Stephanie equated this to character work. We need to allow the character's voice come through us.
We then worked with our memorized text. We were told to memorize a poem or monologue. We walked around the space reciting the text. Stephanie then gave us different prompts about what we should focus on while speaking the text. Some of the prompts were: lead with the head, lead with the heart, lead with the pelvis, you are fire, you are water, you are air, you swallowed a ball, you swallowed a stick, you are a cow, and you are a kid holding a red balloon. This was an awesome exercise. For anyone working a new piece, DO THIS. Some of the movements were TOTALLY against the intention of my text, but some brought out new colors in it that I didn't know where there. IT WAS SO COOL!
In daily practice we learned back shoulder rolls. They are pretty fun and easy! I will be happy to show you guys how to do these, if you are wondering how. And if you already know, then we should do some together! While we were doing our workout...which Joe doesn't like to call a workout instead inspiration and reflection...we were all pretty fatigued and sore. Well, at least I was. He said something that was totally cool:
Cultivate a love for every movement you do. Find the joy and game in everything so that only THAT movement can satisfy the craving.
So AWESOME! Especially when you have to do 40 tricep pushups and 15 back bends and more. Finding the love and joy in the soreness it causes. WOOF.
Some words of wisdom from Ronlin: Theatrical conventions deny the fact that we are human and continually striving for perfection. They do not acknowledge that the audience is an active partner in the work we are creating. Here, we acknowledge our imperfections and invite the audience come with us on our journey.
"The genius of clowning is transforming the little, everyday annoyances, not only overcoming, but actually transforming them into something strange and terrific. It is the power to extract mirth out of nothing and less than nothing." ~Grock
CHECK IT OUT! Another way to get to the blog!
I am cutting this one short. I am totally exhausted today! But i promise i will have videos next time! WOOOoooOOO!!!
Today in Daily Practice we learned foreward rolls!!! They are like a dive forward into the ground with a tuck and a roll. SUPER FUN! Tomorrow I will have someone tape me, so i can show y'all.
My goals for this is week are to get a consistent head stand and to be able to hold a handstand for more than a split second. WE SHALL SEE!
This week is about the EMBODIED VOICE. With Joan we worked on focusing on where we hold tension. We practiced getting in and out of a chair, to see where we hold tension. Joan is working on the Alexander Method with us right now. She is: 1. Increasing our awareness, 2. Helping us to "stop ourselves from doing what we don't want to do with our body" (our inhibitions), 3. Direction. We focused our energy on our loins (the space between your bottom rib and pelvic bone, and how it moves as we move. We then paired up with a partner. We each took turns talking. The listener was to start in second circle (invested and alert) and move to first circle (withdrawn back into yourself, half (if that) interested) and then listen in third circle (aggressive listening). She equated this to the conversation an actor has with an audience. How do you react when the audience is in first circle. It was frustrating to keep talking when the listener was clearly not interested, or when they were in third circle, i felt judged and that everything i said had to be 'right'.
Ronlin taught our afternoon class because Joan had the flu and couldn't come back for our afternoon class. He talked to us about our Performance lab from Friday. Several people were disheartened by how the performance went. During our discussion, a couple people said that they felt like they couldn't 'get it right'. Ronlin responded: maybe we did it exactly how we were supposed to so we would have things to talk about and learn from. HOW WONDERFUL! Seriously, it is so great hearing that...and it is so true. There is no such thing as perfection. So we just have to observe and learn from the theatre that is around us. He did say that we gave into various theatre conventions. He said that here at Dell'Arte improvisation leads to finding a dynamic reality so it can be played over and over again. NO CONVENTIONS, he said, but all things are possible in context. We should not do something just because we have a bag of tricks. We should use an implicit engagement of the body and space. Not an explicit demonstration of form. We should not propose a style, but an engagement. He said that at Dell'Arte, they are not interested in teaching us techniques...but how to create new technique for what we want to say. One more time: At Dell'Arte, they aren't interested in teaching us techniques...but how to create a new technique for what we want to say. We have to make a new set of pliers for every new piece we are creating.
After our discussion, we worked on two minimum to maximum exercises. In the first one, the person had to talk about a made up thesis. They had to start off small and reserved and then gradually work their way to be totally passionate this would drive them to anger, happiness, sadness etc. and they just had to let goooooo and go crazy...then see us in the audience and let a moment of stillness and awkwardness just BE. This process is a continual shedding of tensions to allow the play animate us. The moment of stillness is what Philippe Gaulier calls this time "waiting for the angel to pass"...to allow the time to play itself. We need to be able to allow ourselves to be totally with an audience and not feel fear or shame. Ronlin said that being afraid calls for courage, but we have to ride out shame. There is no getting around it. We have to ride shame as if it were a ski jump. Shame can't be evaded. Shame engages and plays. Desire is what is going to keep moving us through life.
The second minimum to maximum exercise is part of the Showers that Carlo created. It is another minimum to maximum exercise. Two people are seated facing one another. One starts of laughing while the other is crying. They have to match each others intensity and work their way from minimum to maximum. At the peak they switch and work their way back down. We looked at how we demonstrate laughter, crying, fear and anger. Try it. Show: Laughter, crying, fear and anger. I bet you had a similar body position for each one. They probably all had tension in the shoulders and neck. This exercise works on supporting each with the diaphragm. The laugh/cry comes from the physiological, not the psychological. When we honestly convey each one, the switch at the peak is metaphysical. In order to get one of the students to cry with their diaphragm, rather than his throat he had him sit on his lap. He had to cry on Ronlin's shoulder. It was amazing. He didn't have to dig deep to create an As If or anything to make him cry. The physical positioning and support was enough to move us, those watching to believe something tragic happened. I nearly cried watching this, it was beautiful.
Physical theatre is not clown and mime and doing weird things with your body...it is about understanding things with your body first...then with your mind.
My summer English class is about to start so I apologize if my blogs are a bit shorter or are late. I am going to try my hardest to keep up with everything, but please forgive me if i fall a bit behind here.
This morning was the la Grange Pancake Breakfast. A number of people from my class, including myself, volunteered. We served, cleaned plates, refilled coffee and juice, folded silverware...tons of stuff. It was a lot of fun. The community was very gracious. It wasn't very hard to stay motivated when Joan, the Head of Dell'Arte, the lead in Mary Jane: the Musical and many other shows here at Dell'Arte, is working along side of you, washing dishes. It puts things into perspective. It is an awesome reflection of what this school values...which is another reason why I love it so much.
After the breakfast a couple of my classmates and I went to the beach! It was chilly today. The sun was up, but there was a crisp wind which made it chilly. It was nice to relax on the beach...once we got there. We pretty much bushwhacked through the Redwoods. We had to crawl and go down steeeeep clifs holding onto branches for support. There was one point where we had to use a fallen tree as a foot bridge. I felt like I was in Pirates of the Caribbean or something. As if out of nowhere, two young boys magically appeared and told us how to get down to the beach. We willingly followed. Turned out the led us straight to a cliff. Their mom (this fabulous young hippie), who just as magically appeared, ended up showing us how to get to the beach. We had to trudge our way out the forrest back to the parking lot...we walked through another pathway, down some tree root steps and then some rocks and finally...THE BEACH.
SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR AWAY!
The forest we explored.
I love the ocean!
It looks like the beach from LOST
APHRODITE VISITED US!
Afterward the beach we drove around Trinidad for a while. We ate Fish and Chips for dinner from a local restaurant. It was super yummy!
This one is going up early today! I have to memorize some lines for this week and get some reading in. Thank you for reading! It's halfway over! AAAAAAGH!