I got a lift in for 'A-Live' with Jo, and was happily expecting a nice relaxed evening of philosophical debate with Rod, our director...but, 'pon arrival, I saw Mark...
Mark is our Weird Cabaret director, and a lot of his training is in 'physical theatre'; Rod is away touring some show or other (which I quite forgot about) and Mark was taking the session instead.
Well, so much for a nice cup of tea and a sit-down...we got straight into physical work instead. I *know* I'm moaning, but I am used to working like this anyway...I was just hoping for discussion rather than exercise last night as Weird Cabaret rehearsals were strenuous enough the night before. (Yes, Mark is our director for that too...) I've had nearly 16 years training in Physical Theatre; it's the way I perform as an actor, but I'm still allergic to exercise lol!!
Started off with a full warm-up - releasing pelvis, spine, rib-cage and voice. The usual 'numbers on the clock' lifts and stretches for pelvis and ribs, and rolling down the spine to do leg stretches whilst hanging there...
Vocally, we did the usual 'chewing toffee' facial warm up, followed by "Who would know ought of art, shall learn, and then take his ease", followed by the vowels in the sentence only; "ooo ould oh or o' ahh aah err ah eh aeh i eeee". This exercise is intended to 'stretch' the voice, and utilise all areas of the mouth in speech. Played around with that sentence for a little while longer, emphasising words on particular beats of four etc etc.
Moving on, we got into pairs and took turns in saying 1, 2 or 3, in order.
This was relatively easy to do, so long as you prevented your brain from taking over...but then we replaced 'One' with a clap...clap, 2, 3, clap, 2, 3...then 2 with a stamp and so on...still working in pairs. The result was a lot of giggling, stop-starting and scratching of heads.
I know the above sounds like a daft exercise to be doing really...but it does illustrate a point. We all found it easy to do ALL text, and just as easy to do ALL MOVEMENT; the difficulty was with the inbetween...
No, it's not all that easy to move AND talk at the same time, is it?? As performers, we tend to take it for granted : Pick up book, walk the stage, act... But to be really aware of our bodies in performance, and to work with text at the same time IS a skill - and one that you benefit from with practice. Musicians and dancers practise for hours everyday : why not actors?? Because we're all damned lazy and over-confident that we can just 'get up and do it' lol!!
Object Play - Took some time playing without thinking...taking a random object and just doing 'stuff' in pairs...then with one person lying on their back and the other on the front...and still discovering games with objects... This was very good, and produced some fantastic work...especially when we layered in such simple movements with some text...even out of context text made it visually interesting.
Slow/Medium/Fast - the usual physicality exercise of moving about the room at different levels and pace - then put 3 people in a row - contextualisation with a concept attached. They were at a bus stop, and each changed pace to either very very slow, medium or hyper-fast each time mark called out 'change'. Interesting. (And exhausting!)
We then played with moving about the room in a physicality ; applying a feeling to the repetitive movement, in this case it was 'pressing', 'flicking' and 'gliding'.
After which, we had a welcome fag break...
Then got back upstairs at about a quarter to nine, we were just beginning a discussion about possibly having a group of actors staying up all night in the theatre to produce material...see what the circadian rhythms did to us, when I had to go to work.
Stay up all night. Bah! Piece of piss!!
So, I was knackered even by the time I got to the Hive...but did manage to kill a couple of hours in the night with a meeting and minutes...and a lengthy discussion about the potential decline of vocabulary due to MDEC conditions for a bit. Basically the theory is this; working the way we do improves our short-term memory to the detriment of long-term...so stored words and whatnot are replaced by localities and postcode prefixes instead...
This is my fear, having watched Countdown recently, and suddenly finding myself unable to make 8 letter words as per usual, but instead coming up with placenames like 'Thirsk'....AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
Well, my book has arrived!! Wheee!!!
Sexual Personae Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson : Camille Paglia
I've already spent 20 minutes with my nose inside the freshly printed pages...sniffing the ink...(it's a book-love thing I do!)...and I shall be absorbed in it all night. They're locking me in the office for the regular Duty Obs on Friday rota...ok, so they're NOT locking me in (wishful thinking on my part)...but I can be sneaky and read a book without getting caught hehe;)
Well, Christ, that was a bit of a lengthy post...so let's leave it there, shall we?
Finally, another favourite artist of mine: Sandro Botticelli.
Sandro Botticelli : Primavera