This phrase was repeated several times to us today. It has become the mantra of the week. And let's talk about getting back into the groove of things! We 'eased' our way back into things with an hour and a half cardio workout....or so it seemed. We were reminded that we weren't working out, we were just playing a different game. It was hard nonetheless. Now those who have taken Steve's movement class...or any acting class know polar bear, panther crawls and high skips. I thought the ten minutes we spent doing those was difficult. An hour of it makes it seem like nothing. We began the class walking. Joe, our professor (the one who threw the cookout for us) would prompt us to notice various parts of our body as we were walking. He would also have us move our heads around (up, down, up-left, down-right, down-left, up-right) and notice how the weight of our head affected our speed and/or made us spin around. As we walked around the space we walked with our eyes up and forward, as we made eye contact with someone, our gaze would make us turn around as if we didn't want to break the stare. We then had to find a point of the floor...and go to it. We ended up crawling in what is called 'polar bear' (same hand and foot moving), then moved to a crawl (hands and knees), then climb or panther (toes and hands as if we were climbing up a wall), then as swift as possible up to a skip, then a run, back down to polar bear. Whoever said being an actress or actor was easy CLEARLY never studied here. Joe kept shouting at us to HAVE FUN, FIND THE GAME! He also told us to not show that we were tired or out of breath, only that we were doing the movements and that we were not out of breath or tired, but INSPIRED. LOVE IT!
DAILY WORDS OF WISDOM FROM RONLIN: There is a point where you don't need language to tell a story and have meaning. It is our job as poets in the theatre to know when it is necessary to have language and when it is superfluous.
Today was quite frustrating for me. We did a series of exercises that i didn't quite understand. Maybe (hopefully) someday the meaning will hit me. I just have to keep reminding myself of a song that Hope Grandon showed to me whenever I was feeling down about my abilities or self worth. Here it is for all of you to enjoy and listen to when you feel bad. In the words of Steve Snyder YOU ARE ENOUGH
Our first exercise with Ronlin was to BECOME the music. Not interpret the music. Not respond to the music. We were to BE the music, to serve the music. As Grahm (the founder of modern dance) we needed to 'pull the tooth of music'. Here is one of the songs we worked to. We did about three of these exercises.
One of the basic lessons we had to learn was that, like language, our arms and legs are frivolous. Everything must come from the core. Acting comes from the torso. Ronlin said that we must always ride on catastrophe. We need to wake up our eye, because it reflects the soul. We need to respond to what we see and what we are called to do. In the contemporary age, he said, we are trained not to see because we must always act. So, we end up representing what we see. Our gaze becomes an ironic gaze because there is a detachment from what we see to what we SEE.
Characterization, as explained, is not what we understand the character to be, but how to find that character IN us. This is how we can engage something that isn't us, by finding that seed within. It is when theatre becomes conventional it becomes less epidemic...less able to excite/infect the audience. It is important to let the audience infer meaning. Everything means something. Sometimes, when we get too caught up in language or what things MEAN rather than feeling them and portraying them through our body, we force the audience to understand the opposite of what we are telling them.
Our hands don't express, they contain and offer.
One exercise was about how to make a stick come to life. We were given a wooden rod and had to make it come to life. Not pantomime, not project our own views on it, not manipulate it, but make it come to life. This is one exercise I DID NOT UNDERSTAND AT ALL. Most of us in the class were having a hard time. In mid instruction, Ronlin went up to one of my classmates (the tallest) and started climbing on him, going around his back, around his torso...and the student had to help. I am still trying to figure it out. So, if you have any insight i would be happy to hear it!
We then studied elements. We had to become water, fire and air. We started on the floor and had to work from the minimum to the maximum back to minimum (complete stillness). We also baked about 7 cakes to a variety of different music (one being the pink panther) again, not interpreting the music, or commenting on it, but BECOMING IT AND SERVING IT.
Ronlin told me that i need to FIND WHAT MOVES ME. That is my goal.