IT IS ALL BEGINNING TO MAKE SENSE! There is a lot to go over for today I don't even know where to begin!
I guess the beginning of the day would be appropriate! Our Daily Practice was BACKBENDS! I got to demonstrate and, of course, I had to fix my technique. But Joe said I had a nice and bendy back...which is a mucho compliment here! I then learned how to do a backbend and kick over. AWESOME! I will tape it for you when I get it more consistently.
Our next class was with Ronlin. We re-re-visited the stick exercise. If you don't remember, in this exercise we had to make a stick live. Ronlin explained it further saying that the the stick represented a play. The play lives when there is a dialogue between the two or three people on stage and the attention and care we gave to the it. When we are only admiring the greatness of the actor, the play is dead. I love everything about that. In today's age, we are so star struck that we aren't watching and appreciating works because of the story or message or work as a whole only because so-and-so is in it. That is when the art dies and it becomes pedestrian.
Ronlin's thought for the day..or one of his many thoughts: Be careful for NOTHING but in all things,
We then did two more exercises that so much fun. The first one we had two groups of three. One group were the robbers and the other, cops. Ronlin mapped out on the ground a warehouse. In the warehouse, there were paths and stacks that we could climb on. This was all in our imagination. We practiced how to look up a stack and down a stack and what we could realistically see if we were in a warehouse. We could use flashlights. But even with that beam of light, what can we really see/hear? How do we maneuver in a pitch black space without indicating? When do our eyes adjust? What sort of light do we see reflecting and how much? Oh...and we couldn't talk to communicate. The second was a playground that a group of 12 years olds (us) have snuck into after it had closed. There was a sandbox, a wading pool, shower and regular pool that can go up to 7 ft deep. We had to show complete joy about successfully sneaking into the park and how the different elements affect our body. How do we walk in sand? How do we REALLY swim in a 7 ft deep pool...even if we are just standing up in a room? And then how does reality hit us when the groundskeeper comes to bust us for sneaking in...for the THIRD TIME? ...all the while being silent. We can't be literal, (we were told), we have to be more than literal. Vitality lives through us.
Words are not needed. Even the best play with words has to have physical action and interactions rather than just words. A play is just words on paper. It is dead. It comes alive when active actors EMBODY. THIS IS THEATRE.
In the afternoon, we each presented our group project to the class/faculty/other students in the PTP and MFA program at Dell'Arte. I couldn't tape our actual performance but i did get our final rehearsal.
There are people walking in the background that were also rehearsing and maybe talking as well. ALSO since it is a theatre piece and not a film piece, we may go out of frame. But alas! The project was A Place, An Event. That was about all the instruction we were given....other than no language.
HERE IS OURS!
Ronlin and the rest of the professors were in full swing with their philosophy of Via Negativa. But, I rally appreciate it. I am learning so much more than if everything we did was 'good'. It is hard at times, but i know it will be totally worth it in the end.
The second show in the Mad River Festival was: A Suicide Note from a Cockroach. This note was in the program as well as on Dell'Arte's website:
Dell’Arte International and Pelú Theatre presents
Pedro, a cockroach from the low-income housing projects in NYC, is about to commit suicide. He has been married seven times, and each of his wives has been killed! He lost his best friend, he lost his job… he has nothing and he hates the world! This is his story, a story of a poor Latino that went from human to a suicidal cockroach...
This debut production of Pelú Theatre presents a circus theatre spectacle exploring the themes of exile and the birth of a new subculture in America, putting a comic twist to the existential dilemma of being an immigrant in the U.S. The show is based on the poem A Suicide Note from a Cockroach in a low-income housing project written by Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri. In it, the company uses circus as its vocabulary for telling stories: aerialists, tumblers, acrobats, musicians and, of course, clowns form an ensemble of cockroaches trying to live a decent life -- but with one antagonist, a human!
It started off with fabulous movement. The actors moved and sounded like cockroaches. They crawled all throughout the audience and onto the stage. One even crawled on me! Talk about breaking the fourth wall. The acrobatics were awesome. The characters flipped and spun climbed and did all sorts of fun stuff. The story seemed to focus on the 7 crazy wives and how each was killed off. They were all over the top characters. I later figured out that they were supposed to represent the 7 deadly sins. It all made more sense. All in all it was an amazing concept. The expendibility of human life, how immigrants are viewed in America, and 'the man' (who was actually played by a woman in a top hat, coat and walked on stilts) were strong points in the piece. Things seemed a little chaotic, rushed and forced at times. But I learned that they are used to doing this in a bigger space and arrived on monday, so they hadn't had much time to rehearse. The chaotic nature of it seemed fitting though. It matched the chaotic life of a cockroach. I feel like with a director and some polishing this good piece of theatre could be AMAZING. I am so proud an honored to be a part of the theatre world. I am thirsty to do more!
Here are some photos! (I found them on the Dell'Arte website)