Savannah's Theatre Blog

Finished!

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on April 4, 2011

I got caught up after the performances writing about every single aspect of management, etc, etc. until I couldn’t even get my thoughts straight! So, I am bringing it down and answering a more basic question:

How did I feel about the performance?

I felt very, very strange afterwards. I was a mixture of so many things. I was relieved that it was over, sad that it was over, disappointed in myself because I was sure I could have done more, worried about reactions, happy that it came together and totally shocked by how quickly it had gone. My mind was whirling! disappointment was strongest to me directly after the performance: all my mistakes, no matter how small, were going through my mind on repeat. We were out of time at the end of Betray, the reserved seat was TAKEN and I needed to sit on the floor instead of the chair which I did not like and there were some moments in Turning Tables that were not quite as  smooth as I would have liked. I was so sure that my focus had not been strong enough, that I didn’t portray my character as I intended; that I’d let myself down. I think this was the big thing. I don’t mean to sound full of myself or anything but I put so, so much work into this project and I was so terrified that I’d let myself down. If others had let me down (which they didn’t! But I’ll get to that), I would have at least had some one to blame and I could have said “Well, I did my best”. If I had been the weak link, it would mean I had not put enough work in and had not tried my absolute hardest.

I think my initial disappointment was just a reaction to my extreme disbelief that it was over and maybe adrenaline? I’m not entirely sure but once I got over it, at least slightly, and listened to the feedback and got hugged by like a million people, I realised what a huge amount Cat, Geoff and I had managed to achieve. Most people I spoke to said it was really powerful – especially the finale – and some said it was moving (!) and I think everyone said that Geoffrey was scary! I had to give myself a stern talking to and not let my insecurities overrule the little bubble of joy and pride I had managed to create!

I was so unbelievably proud of Geoff and Cat. One of the stand out moments for me over this entire experience was watching Cathy do the 3rd Routine for the first time. I felt so, so proud and realised that I trusted her absolutely; she had given me exactly what I wanted and more. After the performance I felt this feeling again towards both Cat and Geoff; I feel all motherly and proud just thinking about the performance!

Watching Taleah’s piece for the first time was incredible! I’d only really seen small parts of it and I was so proud of everyone involved (there I go being all motherly again!) especially Taleah because I knew the amount of work she’d put in and I could see how well it had payed off!

Something that made my night extra special was that they had organised flowers for both me and Taleah! It was such a sweet, thoughtful thing to do and I felt so good that I’d been able to play a significant part in the night!

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Connected

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on March 21, 2011

I wanted to have a much more polished version of this! But, I have very little time so I figure that I’ll fix it up when I get a chance.

 

Connected

When we first walked into the theatre, we saw the start of Reben’s sculpture which seemed to be another version of The Magic Wave. The lighting was soft and only parts of the stage were lit. The bottom of the sculpture was illuminated but was dark underneath. The other half of the stage was in soft light with dark around the edges. The most remarkable element of the lighting at the beginning of the piece, was that the lit up portion of the stage was interrupted by square outlines – a shadow created by the sculpture. Before the piece has even begun, we are hit with boundaries and the feeling of being trapped. Saying this, the lighting was very soft and created ease within the audience. The contrast between the boundaries and soft light was very effective in having the audience think about the story to come.

The juxtaposition of the lighting is paralleled with the juxtaposition of movement when the piece begins. It was particularly apparent to me that there were strong differences in the way each character moved; there was no regularity. On one side (in light) Harriet Ritchie begins dancing with total chaos and anguish, movement going in all directions and circles indicating that she does not know where she stands/what to do with herself. Contrastingly, we have other performers (I’m about 90% sure it was Joseph Simons and later Marnie Palomares) assembling the sculpture with very simple and small movements; they are in a completely calm state. Others joined the chaotic movement – which repeats – but it is interesting to note the difference in the way each character moved. The strongest example of contrast in movement occurred between Stephanie Lake and Alisdair Macindoe’s characters. Whilst Stephanie’s movements were full of strength and power, Alisdair’s showed desperation and pure despair.

We are hit with another contrast with costuming. Marnie Palomare wears only white whilst all other performers wear black. Whilst she is immediately disconnected from the group but her costume, it is not immediately recognised as she joined in the chaotic movement. As well as this, the performers came in at intervals which meant she was not isolated completely. However, we are made more aware of her disconnection when she moves away from the chaos to build the sculpture. That she moves away from the chaos is very significant when we look into the storyline and the importance of each character. It was at this point where I first contemplated the idea of death being the key element to the piece. The white clothing combined with the disconnection made me think of Marnie’s character as someone in heaven, or no longer a part of life on earth. Something that made me think my interpretation was true was the different movements between characters because I was made to feel that they were different, individual ways of dealing with grief. Right from the start, Marnie’s movements were controlled and light, Stephanie’s were strong, Alisdair’s full of anguish and Joseph’s and Harriet’s somewhere in between (although Joseph’s showed more strength, Harriet’s more poise). It was immediate to the audience that they were revolving around Marnie’s character, something later emphasised when she was the centre of movements and her being the one they move the sculpture around.

The first time the strings are attached the friends (those dressed in black) attach the strings to each other except for Alisdair who is attached by the protagonist. Whilst the attaching of the first three was occurring, the girl wearing white and Alisdair were dancing in front of them which signified that her relationship with him was on a more significant level than the others. That she is not attached to the strings, and that she finished the attaching, is further amplification of disconnection. . She then moves (backwards) towards the sculpture and as she reaches the sculpture, it is moved around her by the other performers connected to the sculpture by strings. The disconnection is emphasised when she leaves to construct the sculpture and she keeps her emotions in complete control (contrasts to the chaos in the others movements). That her friends move it around her suggests that they were trying to help her before she died. During this part of the piece she takes on a more ethereal quality whilst the others have more of a human quality; more realistic. This was when it really clicked for me that she had died; the ethereal quality, white clothing and disconnection made me think of angels and heaven. It seems that the white symbolised being in a better place whilst black, in a more difficult one (i.e. on Earth/real life).

Throughout the piece, the question of who to trust is emphasised during solo performances progressing to ones with two or three people. This is exemplified with the sequences that involve 3 people with two people doing the same movement and 1 person doing something else altogether. They may then alternate or the 3rd person may do the movement on a different level. Combining this suspicion with the different levels of grief was what first had the audience thinking of the protagonist’s death and murder. We begin to watch more critically as the play progresses; trying to determine her killer.

There was a strong emphasis on the strong sexual nature of the relationship between the protagonist and Alisdair’s character. The first indication was when she placed his hands on her bottom, then when she was at the sculpture and grabbed one of the small balls of the sculpture with her mouth, then when he was thrusting against the floor (she was lying under the sculpture not affected physically whilst desperation and passion was the underlying factor in his movements) and finally when they were in underwear and shirts, he had his legs open half way to 2nd position and her head went down in between his legs. What was really interesting was the contrast between their movements in these moments. Whilst she still had passion and excitement in her movement, it was much stronger in his and her’s had no sense of desperation. This was something else that added to that disconnection; she was in control.

After the first sexual encounter, the other three characters came back on stage dressed as security guards. This immediately had the audience thinking of them guarding/looking out for the protagonist and the guy with the short hair. Stephenie was left on stage by herself and there was a full wash of light over the stage (that got brighter as the first part of the scene progressed) and she spoke about the determining truth from what she thought happened and the media. She then talked about an incident that we don’t yet know the details of a security guard from a different section calling her over to say something to her. She didn’t really like the guy but went over out of boredom. As she was walking over there was another guy coming up behind her so she decided that the two guys could just talk (was it the two guys who were in the piece/the friends?). When she got back something (which we later find out is a piece of art) was gone. We later find out that the cleaner had picked it up and was about to throw it out but was stopped just as he was about to press the button. He thought it was rubbish and it was explained that it was art; that it meant something. This could be a reference to the sculpture that features in this piece. Because it is made out of recycled plastic, wood and steel, it could be seen as rubbish by the ignorant (despite it’s obvious beauty) but it does have a deeper meaning. The movement the characters were doing (which recurred through the remainder of the piece) seemed to be cutting themselves up. I know think that it was peeling away all the layers until you find the truth which is what the artist has done with the wave. That the movement recurred I think goes along the same lines, but in terms of relationships. They peeled back all the layers and found what they really felt. Later, all characters are on stage as security guards and they talk of their boredom; of the dreams they once had and what they are now; they talked of boundaries. This brings our attention back to the beginning of the piece with the square outlines which have now disappeared. What happened that broke the spell of living day in and out with no excitement? What was that breaking point? Was it passion? Or was it boredom and frustration?

Near to the end of the play the light changes so that the centre of the stage is in light and the edges are in darkness. All five performers start by standing in the dark connected by a series of movements in a jolty but wave like motion. The main girl wearing white walks back into the light whilst the other four continue the motion with a space in between two pairs. It is interesting that whilst there was a space in between them, their movements were not disconnected; this could show the transition they are making after the death of a loved one – life goes on.

It seems that there were only two characters that could be the murderer; Stephanie and Alisdair’s characters. Asides from Marnie’s character, those two have the most attention. She (Stephanie) started off with complete control and he – with complete desperation and lack of control. It seems that his passion and devotion could have led to one act of horrible action; desperation. At one point during Stephanie’s monologue as the security guard, the light wash changed to a much warmer, yellow wash symbolising her trustworthy kind nature meaning that she could not be the murderer.

WEEK 7!

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on March 21, 2011

Wednesday 16th March: Theatre blog

Today was International Day and, for the first time in my memory, we did theatre related things! I was really concerned about missing two double periods (Monday was Labour Day) so I talked to Ms Robinson (who was organising the happenings of International Day) and suggested having an open rehearsal at the start of the day. She was really happy about the idea which made me really happy because, as I said, I was worried about missing so much class/rehearsal time. As well as this, we had the Butoh Showcase at 10:40 (2 of the scenes from Child’s Play – The Back Dance and Nose-Pencil focus).

When we first got to school we were setting up, warming up and going over our Butoh scenes. With the Butoh scenes, we started with the entrance for the back dance with the masks. I had a little trouble remembering what we did and was really embarrassed when  I mucked it up after going through it a few times. Another issue we had with this was the time to turn – everyone else was supposed to be following me as I was front and centre but it seemed very rushed like everyone just wanted to get each turn out of the way. There was no focus on the individual move, only on the destination. Never-the-less, we got there eventually and actually got focussed. The only other problem I found with the back dance was when we were numbering off to figure out our exits (we peel of one-by-one) and Daniel kept forgetting his number! It was very frustrating because I demand total concentration from myself and expect that others do the same. I mean, I get making mistakes or having an off day but when it’s the same mistake over and over, it really frustrates me. This is something that I’ve been finding difficult during school production (Alice in Wonderland) – I’m so used to the concentration and focus (generally) in our class that coming into production this year, I felt it would be just the same despite difficulties last year. It frustrates me when people have not even read through their scenes! It’s ridiculous! But, something I have to learn to deal with.

It was so exciting to do the nose-pencil focus again! When we originally did it (before the first performance last year) I didn’t think it was particularly interesting but I really do love doing it. It’s so simple but it’s fantastic because its simplicity gives us leeway to explore levels, weights and speed without worrying about chore or anything else. There was only one frustration I had which was similar to the one before. After discussing that we would go down the stairs into the audience and go out the doors at audience level, Daniel forgot to go down the stairs and came back into the wings which would have been fine if he had just rectified his mistake and got on with it but! He just looked at me and I motioned for him to go back out (in character of course) and exit correctly. This I thought would be suitable and would make sense because we had so many exits and entrances  but… it took a long time for him to get what I was saying!

Before our Butoh performance we had a short open rehearsal. We’d just started Trust last week and it still needed a  lot of work so I thought this was most important to practice. Also, I think that with all the balances that we do, this scene is the most impressive! I started the group off by going through the more difficult parts of the scene such as what we call the aeroplane in which Geoff lies down on the ground and has his legs up at 90 degrees. I balance on his feet which go on my hips and his hands. I then take my hands off Geoff’s and transfer them to Cat’s. Now that I think about it, I think it will actually be better if Cat takes my hands from Geoffrey. I know that I have said in previous posts that there is no interaction between Violetta and Augustus – this is still true. They interact in a physical sense but their focus is always on Pandora. In the minds of both Violetta and Augustus, the other is an obstacle to overcome and can’t be ignored. Whilst Violetta cannot see the drug, she is very aware of the drugs presence. Augustus can see Violetta but his focus is always on Pandora because she is the one he is targeting. We also went through this movement:

 

 This is one of my favourite moments in the piece because the connections are so clear and true. Violetta is trying to Pandora but cannot physically see the addiction/Augustus. Augustus is very aware of Violetta’s presence and attempts to help Pandora and is vindictive in the fact that Pandora is relying so heavily upon him at this moment. We had a bit of trouble with this movement later in the week when I literally couldn’t get up and Cathy was not able to get her arms around Geoff to me. So, we looked at this picture which was taken the week before and tried to figure out what was going wrong. What we thought at the time was that Geoff was trying to remain completely straight and was not leaning back as he does in this picture. I think this was still a problem but only now, looking at a bigger picture can I see the problems in the way I was holding Geoff’s arms. When we were rehearsing on Friday, I used his hands for support which made it difficult for me to lock my elbows in to the crook of his (we thought this was how we got the movement – it was how it looked in the small picture) but I now realise that I need to hold his wrists and my elbows go on the outside of his elbows. If I do this is allows Geoff to get that lever-like motion and lift me with a lot more ease.

The song we have decided on for this scene is Betray by Son Lux. We discovered Son Lux through a physical theatre video we watched that had just beautiful music! We all loved this song which was called Beautiful or something similar and thought we could actually use it for our own piece! So, when I got home after watching that video, I tried to find that song but was unable to. I did find songs by the same artist and Betray had a great, strong beat combined with a smooth, soft sound and great lyrics. I played that and another song (Stay, also by Son Lux) which I thought had more appropriate lyrics but lacked that strong beat which I loved so much. Both Cat and Geoff agreed that Betray was a more suitable choice. I’d already decided on a lot of the chore but I hadn’t really placed it in much of a sequence so we played around with a lot of different ideas and got something together and we then just had to figure out details and fill in the holes.

The scene begins with Cathy at the end of the aisle lying on her back with her knees bent and Geoff and I, just in front of the black curtain. When we were first putting this together we forgot that we had the back curtain closed and rehearsed against the wall, using it as resistance. I was a bit annoyed when we first realised our mistake but I actually think it’s a nicer affect because our slight touches on the curtain are quite calming which is a nice juxtaposition with the feeling of the piece.

I’m so happy with how the piece is going! We are working really well together and it certainly involves a lot of trust!

Some other pictures:

Week 6: IP

Posted in IPP by Savannah on March 14, 2011

I feel that we started this week really well! We’d been struggling with finding energy and that ‘child-like’ quality for Rolling in the Deep so I wanted to start with that. After stalking Cat on her blog and reading about how she saw a strong relationship between what we learnt from the Zen Zen Zo workshop and Rolling in the Deep. The element from the ZZZ workshop that really stood out to me in relation to this scene was the changing energy levels. I saw the levels going throughout the piece and often changing rapidly.

At the start of the piece, I wanted to incorporate acrobatics (an element often included in physical theatre) and I wanted a more interesting entrance so I thought it would be good for Pandora to cart-wheel down the aisle to really emphasise the huge change in her movement. At the same time, Cat’s character (Violetta) does front walk over on the stage. When I reach the stage, there is a box at the bottom of the steps which I immediately notice and I am seemingly amazed/intrigued by it so I go to level 5 (the curious state). Whilst I’m at this curious state, Violetta has gone to a level two (the zombie state) but slightly more exaggerated so she is bent over. I like the juxtaposition between energy levels because that is often the case with children – going suddenly from hyped up and full of energy to asleep, dead to the world. Something else I wanted to take elements of from the workshop was this exercise:

Group awareness – up and down

This exercise involves 5 people standing in some sort of formation (a line, star, etc.) and two people must be crouched whilst the other three are standing. The difficulty, or the key, is not using sight. Each person looks straight ahead and relies on their other senses (+ their 6th sense) to determine whether to crouch or stand.

Cathy thought of a way to incorporate this and pass boxes in a way that was much more interesting which involves us sliding down to the floor in a back-to-back position and then I lean down in front of me to pick up a box and pass it over my head to Cat.

We had a lot of difficulty in making this piece sufficiently long which is normally not something I really care about because I’m really all for quality not quantity. However, I was feeling that this piece was lacking in both. So, we had fun brainstorming different child hood games/activities and extending on what we had already come up with. We were also worried that we would forget all that we’d done, so at the end of the lesson we wrote it all down and here it is:

Sav begins outside D4

Cathy enters upstage right

Pandora cartwheels (starting when the words start) down the aisle in the centre of the audience, ending in a round off half turn. She then finds Box 1 and goes to a Level 5 curious about the box and then throws it to Violetta and is curious about her response.

Meanwhile, Violetta does a front walk over (starting at the same time as Sav) and almost immediately goes into a L2 (zombie state) and then to a quick level 7 before I pass her the box and she goes into L5

Violetta puts the box down before Pandora runs around it and they slide down in a V position, back to back.

Pandora then picks up the box Cathy just put down and brings it over her head to pass it to Violetta.

Violetta then places it on the floor in front of her and Pandora mimics her movements.

Both Violetta and Pandora swivel around on their hand on releve. They both spin around into 2nd position.

Geoffrey (from the wings, stage right) throws Box #2 to Violetta who then throws it to Pandora. They have a hot potato match until Violetta gets bored and throws it behind her to the pyramid they are building.

Violetta and Pandora then help each other up and Pandora moves over to the boxes and Violetta prepares herself to recieve Box #3, both moving like robots.

Pandora passes the box to Violetta and they both lift their legs behind them with a flexed foot

Pandora moves back to the boxes and throws Violetta another box

Violetta places that box on the pyramid

Pandora calls Violetta over to the boxes and places a box on her head

Pandora then puts a box on her foot and holds Violetta’s hand and they both make their way over to the pyramid. They both place their boxes on the pyramid and Pandora has the idea of hiding behind the boxes and making a game out of moving them. Violetta soon catches on.

Violetta runs down the aisle to play cops and robbers but Pandora has another idea and runs down and pulls Violetta back on stage.

Pandora drags Violetta  to the hats downstage right. They both look at each other, then forward and then then bend over to pick up the hats and stand up at the same time.

Violetta goes to put on the hat. At the same time Pandora looks at her. Violetta stops putting on the hat and the process is reversed.

They both then turn to look at each other, put their hats on and curtsie.

With their new characters (because of the hats) they both run through the audience playing cops and robbers. At some point, they signal to each other that it’s time for a shoot out. They slowly walk backwards towards each other, turn around when they meet and shoot each other.

Both sit up, lean forward and then bring their legs over behind them and swivel around.

Violetta then takes a crouching position whilst Pandora  runs around and they play a game of leap-frog (3 leaps) before they turn to face each other on their knees and play a clapping game.

They then both run back on to the stage and begin stacking the boxes rapidly.

They then get distracted and run to jump off the stage. They then both pretend to be adults and play tea parties, walk like adults, etc.

They then share secret looks and point to the audience and giggle about them

They finally take different poses in reserved seats. Violetta goes to a seat near the front on the left side whilst Pandora goes to the middle on the right. They take a piece an accessory from an audience member (pre-arranged) and take a final, “adult” pose.

I think it works really well and it’s so much fun that both Cathy and I are just smiling and laughing the entire way through!

Another scene that we worked on (and finalised!) this week was Intervention which is completely changed and is now Trust. It was predominantly inspired by some physical theatre videos on you tube that I watched which I will try to link now:

Link 1

Link 2 – This is just something beautiful and amazing !

Link 3

Link 4

Link 5 

Link 6 – Alvin Ailey!

There was still something nagging at me – that we hadn’t:

a) Been really getting to the bottom of what physical theatre is, and

b) Hadn’t explored the relationships

Trust is such a significant part of Pandora’s journey and I couldn’t believe that this realisation had not occurred to me before. So with this scene, I wanted to incorporate a lot of balance exercises but, as with life, there is always more than one layer and I wanted to incorporate more of Violetta’s journey. There are so many difficulties with helping a loved one with an addiction, the main question being: how much can you help whilst remaining standing yourself? In conjunction with this,  we really see Violetta’s strength come through. So, there is a lot of emphasis on Violetta moving by herself whilst Pandora moves only with the help of Augustus (the drug), as well as Violetta trying to remain upright and her struggle, and of course – Pandora questioning who to trust whilst Augustus manipulates her and Cathy remains truthful. Something that also comes into question for Violetta is her trying to determine what is actually happening. There are two specific moments where she trying to get to me but Augustus is blocking her way and she can’t figure out what is happening. These moments are among my favourites in the piece!

On Friday, Cathy couldn’t come to school so I arranged for Geoffrey and I to work on Turning Tables. Whilst I wasn’t as happy with this session as I was with the others, we still got some good work done. We hadn’t gone over it for a while so I think that may have been part of the reason why it was not working. Still, as I said, we got some good work done! We went through the chore to start with and figured out the problems and why a few things weren’t quite working timing wise. We then we went through the beats in the scene and figured out the best Laban efforts to use for each. So here’s what we decided on:

Turning Tables:

1. Until facing audience

– glide, float (on both parts)

2. Until wrap – leg up

SAV: wring, press, glide, float

GEOFF: press, slash

3. Drop down – run in front

GEOFF: flick, press, glide

SAV: flick, dab, float, glide

4. The Sway

SAV: glide, float

GEOFF: press – recurring when I’m not looking/can’t see him

5. Jump

SAV: flick, glide (dab?)

6. Walk back

SAV: Glide

GEOFF: press

7. Puppetry

SAV: gloat, flick

GEOFF: press, flick

8. Swan

SAV: glide, float, press

GEOFF: press, punch

I think we worked really, really well this week. Not only did we get really far along with chore but we were able to figure out objectives and emotions; what goes on behind the eyes – essentially the most important part!

Connected: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on March 6, 2011

Chunky Move’s, Gideon Obarzanek teams up with Californian artist, Reben Margolin for a piece of ‘pure mechanics’. Connected, premiering at the Merlyn Theatre on March 11, features Reuben’s kinetic sculptures exploring the nature of connections in the universe. Margolin’s other pieces include Magic Wave "Magic Wave"

‘The Magic Wave has a light blue aluminum grid suspended by 256 cables. And instead of two perpendicular waves, its motion is an addition of four variable-amplitude waves: two structured as single-wavelength, and two as double-wavelength. And there is an overall height mechanism that raises and lowers the entire wave simultaneously.’ (Margolin, 2008).
It is a version of the “Square Wave” (pictured below)
Square Wave

In Connected, the sculpture is one ‘suspended by hundreds of fine strings’ each receiving information from various wheels and ‘camshafts’ (a part o an engine consisting of a rod to which cams are attached, cam = a part of an engine that converts a circular motion into a to-and-fro motion). We see the sculpture constructed throughout the piece, as well as the movement and physical connections slowly evolving from ‘simple movements and hundreds of tiny pieces’ into ‘complex structures and relationships’ (quotes from Malthouse Theatre, Season 1, 2011).

Directed and choreographed by Gideon Obarzanek, Connected features Stephanie Lake, Alisdair Macindoe, Josh Mu, Marnie Palomares and Harriet Ritchie as they build this monumental sculpture; ‘a geometry of nature’ (Malthouse Theatre, Season 1, 2011).

And here’s a link to a YouTube Video in which Gideon Obarzanek and Reuben Margolin talk about the upcoming piece.

Bibliography:

– Ben Harris, 2008, Sound Waves, website, viewed on: 06/02/2011, http://www.thedawstudio.com/Tips/Soundwaves.html 

– Reuben Margolin, 2008, Magic Wave, website, viewed on: 06/02/2011, http://www.reubenmargolin.com/waves/magic_2.htm

Collins Compact: australian Dictionary, 1981, New Edition (1995), Harper Collins Publishers, Australia

Malthouse Theatre, Season 1, 2011

Week 5: Monday

Posted in IPP by Savannah on March 5, 2011

Today was a really interesting lesson. We didn’t get much done in terms of ticking of boxes but we got a lot accomplished in the way of new ideas, development of ideas, development of character and theatre styles.

I’ll start with theatre styles:

Over the weekend, I’d put quite a lot of work into researching some new theatre styles. I specifically looked at Eclectic theatre, which is pulling bits and pieces from many different styles which seemed very suitable because I can see a lot of influences even if I am not able to put them into words just yet! However, I also looked (a little bit) into Symbolist Theatre from our textbook which, I have to say, confused me greatly and I had to read so many times to draw what I did from it. What really stood out for me was existence of both dreams and reality and the interaction between them. It seemed quite fitting for our piece because we do have both illusion and reality. Illusion in that Geoff is the personification of the drug and can only be seen by Pandora and thus not by Cathy, which to me was like the dream side of Symbolist theatre and reality is what Cathy’s character sees. I think it’s quite clear however, if you pay attention, what is real and what is not. Because Cathy and Geoff’s characters do not interact at any point and Cat’s character literally walks past him on a few occasions, I think if the audience pays attention they will be able to see the distinction between illussion and reality. The problem with drawing from symbolist theatre is that we are not symbolising a political stance or particular view-point with our characters and that seems to be an important part of Symbolist Theatre.

Ms Flood is going to lend me a book about dream interpretation which will be really interesting and the may be a way to incorporate that which would bring it back to Symbolist Theatre, as well as Bio-mechanics.

Ms Flood’s words: A world goes to a new reality that we accept in a dream.

In dreams we view all happenings as regular as Pandora (my character) does in The Heroine. I do not mean that her actions are normal in regard to day-to-day life, rather – normal for a heroin addict. Cathy’s character will be out of the “dream” so she does not view the things I do/how I react to Geoff as normal or regular.

Something else I talked about with Ms Flood was LYING.

I’d heard of a story someone had told me about meeting with an old friend who they hadn’t seen for a long time. She said that this old friend was acting very strangely and asked for fruit/food ‘for later’ and took it away in her bag. Later it was discovered that her friend was addicted to heroin. It struck me after talking with Ms Flood that the user would not only lie or act strangely when covering up their addiction but would act differently in many other situations such as was the case with this story. It could have been due to lack of money or it could have been simply erratic behaviour because of the mental state they are in.

Something else Ms Flood brought my attention to was the actual presentation of heroin and how something so precious is stored in something so cheap. She suggested that I try to emphasise this.

We talked about the routines and how I was thinking of having a voice over through them explaining what was happening in short snippets (the analyst). She thought of having a similar thing with Pandora’s thoughts perhaps going through the piece. Phrases such as: ‘I won’t become addicted’, ‘I’ll just try it’, etc. Now that I think about it, Ms Flood may have talked about Pandora’s thoughts as a voice over and then I mentioned my idea about the routines.

Both Taleah and I were worried about how our groups were progressing in regard to Laban and Stanislavski. Ms Flood had talked to both of us and emphasised how important character development is and what the purpose of what we are doing is; what is going on behind the eyes. It became apparent at this point that we had both been focussing on the aesthetic and not what is actually going on. The thought of continuing like that really scared me but I wasn’t sure how much of an effect my saying it had on the other two (I think Ms Flood may have also mentioned it to them) and I think that Taleah’s thoughts were along the same lines as we both thought a workshop in Laban and Stanislavski was a good idea.

So, on Wednesday we had the workshop. I was so nervous to begin this workshop because whilst I knew the theory and had exercises prepared I’d never really taught anyone anything before and there were so many things that could go wrong! But, the big thing  I was scared of was teaching them the wrong thing. I felt that I took a big step forward with this workshop because I really had to trust that all the reading I’d done as well as work I’d done in years 10 and 11 as well as  NIDA workshops out of school.  With more time I would have liked to go more in-depth but I think for the workshop’s purpose (getting everyone’s minds switched on to Laban) it was really good. I was really happy with the way everyone worked except for a few minor glitches where we lost concentration. It was very interesting to do physical work with non-dancers because they obviously didn’t have as much physical/self awareness. Even with things that are now familiar to me, such as lifting the upper torso, it was very difficult for some of the people in the class. Saying this, I even found it rewarding when they started to translate what I was saying into their body – it was very exciting to be able to teach something I feel passionate about!

I ended up adjusting my workshop plan slightly to really pinpoint what flow, space, time and weight really meant. We looked at successive and simultaneously flow and exaggerated the opposites of space, time and weight.

Exercise for successive/simultaneous body movements:

1.      Start in an upright position, arms by side and roll down from head until knees are bent and back up again.

2.      Start in an upright position, arms extended upward. Allow the movement to slowly flow through the body by bringing the fingers to extend backwards and to then go through the wrist, elbows, etc. Here, play with both successive and simultaneous flow. And back up.

I think that breaking down each aspect was very helpful. I know I found it helpful so I hope everyone else did too.

It was really interesting to be able to watch as well as demonstrate some of the exercises. It was really interesting to see what different people in the class were doing and why. For example, there were a couple of people who were adding characteristics that were not necessary for the effort such as dragging of the feet. Upon reflecting, I think it was because they were adding character to their movement which, whilst not necessarily a bad thing was not something we had progressed to. I wanted it to be down to the raw efforts because once the technique is achieved, you can then progress to bigger and better things with a solid base.

Okay, so: I was just being totally nosy and reading my group members blogs (I’M SORRY TO CAT AND GEOFF IF EITHER OF YOU ARE READING THIS BUT I THINK IF YOU ARE THAT MAKES YOU JUST AS NOSY AND I SHOULDN’T BE APOLOGISING THEN) and when I was reading Cathy’s she was talking about the Zen Zen Zo workshop in relation to Rolling in the Deep. She briefly mentioned the 7 levels of energy and that really has me thinking! I want total changes in energy throughout the piece as children are ecstatic and asleep/dead to the world, the next. I can particularly see this at the start of the routine where Cathy does a walkover and I do cartwheels down the aisle, during cops and robbers, the high five that misses and the ending (I want to ‘borrow’ statement items from two wonderful audience members – imitating adults – and freeze in an ‘adult’ position, i.e. legs crossed looking important). I am very excited to experiment with that in order to incorporate more of the stuff that we did last year into this performance.

Here are some useful things I said in my blog from the workshop and also things that I think of whilst going through them:

– I think creating the different levels of energy it is one of the best exercises is for determining energy levels. It made me very aware of just how much energy impacts on those surrounding you, which includes the audience. I discovered this by simply being in the space with people doing the same exercise for I could feel the difference

– The curious level (5) and the very emotional one (6) would be very useful in RITD because they are so indicative of children

– Perhaps very brief moments of level 7 (short attention span)

– ‘I was shocked to discover that I walked with my arms. At first – when watching Daniel – I thought I was flicking up my hands with each walk but he was just trying to bring more attention to the arms. It is something I will be conscious of in the future.’

– This exercise involves 5 people standing in some sort of formation (a line, star, etc.) and two people must be crouched whilst the other three are standing. The difficulty, or the key, is not using sight. Each person looks straight ahead and relies on their other senses to determine whether to crouch or stand.

After the demonstration, 5 of us started it off. I found it very difficult to resist looking at the others but I got over that. My next difficulty was that I got frustrated, which of course helped nothing. I had to be very stern with myself to regain focus after this. I wanted to try it again so I could focus more and do a better job yet I always want this!

In this one focus, energy, physical and group awareness were clearly needed; if one wasn’t present the result wasn’t as good. I found that Sonia fidgeted a lot and was obviously not focussed and I think (from observations) that the others had to give even more focus to compensate.

I worked on lighting with Taleah and Cat (and some helpful others) on Friday. I wanted very basic lighting, no colours; something soft. I didn’t want a huge emphasis on lighting or artificial means of enticing the audience because, whilst it is very effective in some pieces, I felt that that was not the mood I was trying to create. The emotions in The Heroine are vital as it is a very raw play brought down to the truth of the matter and I feel that simple lighting will emphasise that.

I’m so, so glad that Taleah still wants to help me with lighting because she is AMAZING and is able to achieve the exact effects I want for each scene!

Week 4

Posted in IPP by Savannah on February 27, 2011

On Monday, we mainly worked on/started Rolling in the Deep. I was so, so happy with it at this point! Basically, I told Cathy my idea in a nutshell and we just put on the music and did it! It was wonderfful and soo much fun! We get to be really silly in this routine which I really love because it’s pretty much the only light in a pretty dark play. We added a part to it which was with police hats. I wanted to get down to the essence of what I was trying to say (happiness in childhood) and I’d thought of using costumes/playing dress ups like children would (and like we occassionally do). So we did this really fun thing with the police hats where we pick them up in identical motions and with identical timing but then Cathy starts to put her hat on and I look at her, then vise versa and finally we get them on at the same time! I’m so excited!

On Wednesday however, we had some difficulties. It was mainly with Rolling in the Deep which had been going so well! We (both Cathy and I) couldn’t seem to get into our inner child and get the energy/emotion right. It was very frustrating for both of us – I think – so I tried to think of games we could do to get into that stage of not caring what any one thinks and allowing emotions to over rule us. So we started by playing some happy music which for me is music from the Burlesque soundtrack (Christina Aguilera rocks my world!) and for Cathy was Florence and the Machine. This didn’t really work so we tried hot potato with the boxes, soccer with the boxes, chasy and we got a little bit further but no where near where I want it to be. I’m hoping that we were just having a bad day (which would make sense given that we had a lot of major assessment pieces due in a couple of days) and that when we approach it with a fresh mind tomorrow morning, there will be more of that carefree, joyous side.

Something that we worked on that I was really happy with was Turning Tables. What we did was break it down motivation wise, as in we looked at the different stages within the piece and figured out what our characters were thinking, why they were thinking that and the effects of their emotional state. So, it went something like this:

Throughout the piece, my character feels as though she is in control. The audience knows this is not the case due to the drug’s controlling through puppetry which she ignores/is not even aware of.

The piece begins with mirrorring and at this point, Pandora feels as though they have an even, equal and almost loving relationship. The drug thinks no such thoughts but is a manipulator and successfully gets her thinking this.

Only at the end of the piece is there a slight glimmer of realisation in what is really happening and that is when the drug drops her from the puppetry/lets her fall.

The Given Cicumstances:

  1. Who am I? Pandora (I’ve called my character this because I feel her as a ‘light’ character and I feel that the name is very fitting in relation to the play because of Pandora’s box; letting all the bad things into the world but hope along side it), 17 years old. She’s unhappy with her life, her family, school, everything because she feels that she’s not good enough. Using drugs provides a shelter, an escape from that insecurity. That’s why she started. She eventually realises that the drug is controlling her more than all the other influences (i.e. parents, school, etc.) who, she believed, were trying to make her perfect.
  2. What do I want? An escape which provides a feeling of strength in a way because she no longer has to be perfect; freedom.
  3. Why do I want it? Because it seems like the only option
  4. How do I achieve it? By using heroin. When that ultimately fails, she allows her friend to help her.
  5. What are my obstacles? Firstly: hiding it from everyone around me (eyedrops, perfume, long sleeved shirt), then: admitting that I need help
  6. Where am I?

Routines: In her bedroom

China White: In a bedroom of a new “friend’s” house. It’s relatively empty and the room is in pretty dodgy condition. The new “friend” is an addict and has been for a long time and therefore, spends money on drugs rather than furnishing.

Rolling in the Deep: Everywhere and anywhere.

Turning Tables: The same as RITD

Intervention: At Pandora’s house (Cat’s character has approached her in a place most comfortable to P)

Finale:A combination of Intervention and RITD.

* I realise that this is not in as much depth as it should be but when going through the scenes this week, expanding on this is something I plan to focus on.

Another good thing that happened on Wednesday was that we got some of the props that we needed. Whilst Cathy and I were working on Rolling in the Deep, I sent Geoff off to get syringes from the nurse (and to clearly state what we needed them for), then to the science department for a petri dish.

Whilst we a bit behind on our schedule, I feel that we’ve got a lot accomplished and I’m happy with how the piece is progressing! (Although we have like 2 tonnes of work to go but I managed to get quite a bit of work done over the weekend which is exciting!)

Week 4: plan

Monday:

Period 1: discussion

– Laban (briefly, see what work everyone has done, brief discussion)

– Character, inc. Stanislavski (briefly as we will go into more depth during routines)

– Theatre styles

– Costumes

Last 15 minutes of class/remaining time: finale, go through ideas, start linking, etc.

Period 2:

40 minutes: routines 1, 2 and 3, figure out how to get everything on/off stage

10 minutes: Rolling In The Deep – go through

Period 5: working on Finale

Tuesday:

Period 5: Lighting with Taleah

Wednesday:

Period 1 and 2: Focus on Laban as a whole class

Period 5: Lighting with Taleah

Thursday:

Period 5 – Turning Tables, focus on Laban

After School (4:30/5:00 – 5:45 – depending on how late production things run): Rolling In The Deep

Friday:

Period 3: lighting with Taleah

* No P5 rehearsal

The Routines:

Music: Heavy In Your Arms (Soundtrack Version), Florence and the Machine

Props: (what we have)

Cat Sav
  Head band (white Alice band)
  Mascara
  Perfume
  Necklace (to rehearse with)
   
   
   

 

Props: (what we need)

Cat Sav Other
Hair brush Necklace that works 2 X card tables
Hair clips/band Hairbrush 2 X chairs
Mascara/lip balm Eye drops/eye dropper  
Perfume Long sleeved shirt (?)  
Jewellery    
     
     

 

1st Routine:

–        This routine goes with the music

–        There may be a costume addiction (with Sav’s character) that is Cathy’s colour or the other way around

–        Time: 2:32 without costume addition

Why Cat’s character is involved:

I want to make it clear that she is my friend before I started to take the drug. This defines her first role.

*Optional: Cathy puts on something of her own colour to emphasise to the audience that it is her colour.

2nd Routine:

–        Cathy will be in this routine but her actions will go with the music (like the 1st routine) whilst Sav’s character’s actions will be slightly altered because the drug is changing/effecting her life

–        There Alice band will be replaced with eye drops in this scene to mask bloodshot eyes.

–        No interaction between the two although they know the other is there (Sav’s character is less aware of this )

* There may be costume addition/removal in this scene: long sleeve shirt/jacket , to cover up injection marks – EXPERIMENT

3rd Routine:

–        Cathy will not be in this scene because she is trying not to be dragged into Sav’s character’s problems (Cathy’s character is scared)

–        It will be totally out of order and not with the music. All props will be set up but ignored. This is because deterioration of physical appearance is a common sign of drug abuse

–        Cathy’s table will still be set up but she will not be at it. This is to emphasise her absence

* There may be costume addition/removal in this scene: long sleeve shirt/jacket , to cover up injection marks – EXPERIMENT

–        I like this less here because I think my character is too far gone by this stage to care.

How they will work:

There will be two card tables set up (by us) downstage right and left with the props already on them. There will be chairs set up to one side of the table (on each table) towards centre stage. Both Cat and Sav (in character) will walk off their respective sides, leaving the tables but in black out may go back to get them (not in character).

Other:

When we went backstage with Nathan ? after seeing Superheroes by Stone/Castro and Arts House, we saw tables set up in the wings with their props in a particular order so they knew exactly where everything was. This is something that is important to do for this sequence.

 

The Routines:

Music: Heavy In Your Arms (Soundtrack Version), Florence and the Machine

Props: (what we have)

Cat Sav
  Head band (white Alice band)
  Mascara
  Perfume
  Necklace (to rehearse with)
   
   
   

 

Props: (what we need)

Cat Sav Other
Hair brush Necklace that works 2 X card tables
Hair clips/band Hairbrush 2 X chairs
Mascara/lip balm Eye drops/eye dropper  
Perfume Long sleeved shirt (?)  
Jewellery    
     
     

 

1st Routine:

–        This routine goes with the music

–        There may be a costume addiction (with Sav’s character) that is Cathy’s colour or the other way around

–        Time: 2:32 without costume addition

Why Cat’s character is involved:

I want to make it clear that she is my friend before I started to take the drug. This defines her first role.

*Optional: Cathy puts on something of her own colour to emphasise to the audience that it is her colour.

2nd Routine:

–        Cathy will be in this routine but her actions will go with the music (like the 1st routine) whilst Sav’s character’s actions will be slightly altered because the drug is changing/effecting her life

–        There Alice band will be replaced with eye drops in this scene to mask bloodshot eyes.

–        No interaction between the two although they know the other is there (Sav’s character is less aware of this )

* There may be costume addition/removal in this scene: long sleeve shirt/jacket , to cover up injection marks – EXPERIMENT

3rd Routine:

–        Cathy will not be in this scene because she is trying not to be dragged into Sav’s character’s problems (Cathy’s character is scared)

–        It will be totally out of order and not with the music. All props will be set up but ignored. This is because deterioration of physical appearance is a common sign of drug abuse

–        Cathy’s table will still be set up but she will not be at it. This is to emphasise her absence

* There may be costume addition/removal in this scene: long sleeve shirt/jacket , to cover up injection marks – EXPERIMENT

–        I like this less here because I think my character is too far gone by this stage to care.

How they will work:

There will be two card tables set up (by us) downstage right and left with the props already on them. There will be chairs set up to one side of the table (on each table) towards centre stage. Both Cat and Sav (in character) will walk off their respective sides, leaving the tables but in black out may go back to get them (not in character).

Other:

When we went backstage with Nathan ? after seeing Superheroes by Stone/Castro and Arts House, we saw tables set up in the wings with their props in a particular order so they knew exactly where everything was. This is something that is important to do for this sequence.

 

A Little Bit on Epic Theatre

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on February 27, 2011

Epic Theatre

Epic theatre’s main purpose was to educate. It was to try and make a difference by allowing their audience to absorb a message and then act upon it. Piscator (German director) and Brecht were both interested in creating a ‘strictly intellectual’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 210) environment in which to deliver a message.

However, Piscator did not want to have no emotion involved and tried to combine fiction and real like whereas Brecht was convinced that total alienation was the way to make a difference.

Saying this, Brecht’s plays were not just full of gloom. He incorporated comedy to portray humans finding light in a horribly ‘corrupt capitalist world’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 213).

Alienation

The idea of alienation was to keep the audience objective and thereby allowing them to learn and, hopefully, act upon what they have learnt. This was achieved by breaking down the fourth wall by allowing the illusion of a ‘make-believe’ play to be destroyed. This was done by changing scenery/the set in full view of the audience, seeing the musicians on stage, etc.

Bibliography:

– Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980, Acting in Person and in Style in Australia, not sure what edition (Ms Flood – please can you help?), McGraw-Hill Australia, Australia

General Information About the Eight Basic Efforts: Laban

Posted in IPP by Savannah on February 27, 2011

General Information about the Eight Basic Efforts

We use the eight basic efforts in everyday life in both our movement and speech however we do not necessarily use them all. Generally, each individual’s mannerisms and personality affect their movement range. We may branch out occasionally due to extreme emotions, i.e. anger.

There is also the question of how we prefer to move for certain actions but they can be made appropriate to the task at hand. For example, when lifting a box above your head, it would be unwise and ineffective to employ the floating effort. It would be more effective to use a direct or strong effort. Saying this, it is often the case that we use more than one effort for an action. It may be more effective to slash to get the box up to a shelf and then press to move it further along the shelf.

These efforts can be performed with or without the flow factor. It is essential to learn control of the flow factor to be able to apply it when necessary.

Flow:

Flow describes movement that is unimpeded or continuous such as floating your hair in water, some forms of handwriting, robes or running water aided by gravity. 

It can be successive or simultaneous.

Successive flow: when one body part follows another, carrying the movement along

Simultaneous flow: When one body part follows another, carrying the movement.

Movement can be both simultaneous and successive. For example, if you allow a trunk-like movement to travel from your knees, through your hips, chest, shoulder and head and allow your arms (or legs) to move in a successive motion, carrying energy from your shoulder through your elbows, wrists, hands and finally fingers, it would be both simultaneous and successive. This is because the body is simultaneously working together and separately.

Free flow is entirely unimpeded and difficult to stop suddenly. When utilising free flow, it feels as if there are no problems or complications that could occur. There is no reason to put the action ‘on hold’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 128); the mover feels completely confident.

Bound flow is hesitant and involves more care than free flow. However, bound flow can be tentative or confident. If you are performing a task that requires care but you know what you are doing, it would be bound flow because you are taking care but confident because you  know what you are doing.

An example of free flow as apposed to bound flow: If you are painting a wall you would use free, broad and sweeping strokes with a large brush (free flow) but if you were painting a window frame, you would employ a steady hand, take more careful strokes and try not to get any paint on the glass (bound flow).

Space:

In order to comprehend the space we inhabit. We need certain recognisable signposts such as walls, fences or boundaries to first determine the size of the space. To then pinpoint our exact location, it is necessarily to know the distance we are from these boundaries. When we move we ‘push some space out of the way’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 112) and the area we just vacated is filled with more space.

There are different ways to inhabit the space we operate in. If someone is naturally shy they will cringe back into their kinesphere to try and detract attention. They are minimising their use of space by doing this. If we were to take it to the extreme, we would be able to use the least space possible by ‘bending all of our joints and curling up into a ball’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004:112). Laban called this gathering. Contrastingly, we can stretch all of our limbs into a star like position, stretching even our fingers, to extend our kinesphere. This is called scattering. It is important to remember that we cannot only gather and scatter our whole body but individual body parts as well.

It is important not to fear using the surrounding space.

Time:

Both space and time are necessary to obtain the ‘where’ and ‘when’ in a given situation. Everyone responds differently to time even though we are surrounded by clocks and watches. This is because we all inbuilt clocks within us that determine our actions/what sort of movements we are suited to.

Rhythm is an essential element of time; they are ‘inseparable’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: P117).

Laban says that ‘rhythm is the lawless law which governs us all without exception. But only a few are familiar with it, although it is always around us and within us and reveals itself everywhere’. We generally think of rhythm as something associated with music which, of course, it is, but Laban pointed out that the rhythm without us allows us to dance and move without music but it is simply not ‘bound by metricality’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 117). This is where the idea of regular and irregular rhythm comes into play.

There is both regular and irregular rhythm. A movement that is not bound or restricted has an irregular time-rhythm, and of course, regular is the opposite. A performer should be able to express both.

It is debatable whether there are some people in the world who have no sense of rhythm because, really, it is in everyone; in our regular heart beat, breath pulse and our walk.

Weight

Weight is a particularly interesting aspect of Laban’s theories because of it’s realtion with gravity. It is interesting to note that the way people move naturally in relation to weight is not necessarily dependent on their mass. For example, a skinny person may stomp around or vise versa. In Laban for All, weight is said to be ‘the force exerted on a body by a gravitational field’ and that ‘our ability to stand upright depends on the tension between the force of the body and the pull of gravity’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 119) so it seems that some people will ‘indulge’ in gravity whilst some will ‘resist’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 119).

Weight affects both space and time. If we are heavy, or indulging in gravity, we will move slowly.

The kinetic force is how much energy is required to move in space.

External resistance is the resistance we have against what we are trying to do. It ignores the resistance of gravity.

Kinetic sensing is tested when we have to pick up and hold weight.

The Eight Basic Efforts

Flicking: Flexible, Sudden, Light

Flicking is flexible in its use of space and it resists both Weight and Time.

It is a movement with free flow. It is crisp, light and always brief.

Wringing: Flexible, Sustained, Strong

This primarily involves movement in the opposite direction, such as wringing out a towel where your hands will move in two opposite directions.

Keep in mind that wringing is not restricted to the hands.

Dabbing: Direct, Sudden, Light

This is usually performed with free flow and is very flexible.

There is nearly always a rebound, meaning something that the movement bounces off (not necessarily literal).

Punching: Direct, Sudden, Strong

This involves violent, direct movements but can be performed with bound or free flow.

There is no indulgence in this effort; it overcomes Weight, Space and Time.

 

Floating: Flexible, Sustained, Light

This effort is like flying but can be through air or water.

It can be performed with bound or free flow.

It suggests ‘buoyancy and weightlessness’ (Newlove, Dalby, 2004: 139) however it is slow paced and indirect.

Slashing: Sudden, Strong, Flexible

This effort is usually performed with free flow.

When we think of slashing, the general though is a sword slashing towards an object and meeting resistance. When performing, this effort tend to fade into a float at the point it would meet resistance.

 

Gliding: Sustained, Light, Direct

This effort is a smooth movement, generally performed with bound flow.

There is a high level of control in this movement which comes from muscular counter-tensions. This is the way in which this effort differs from floating; floating does not have that level of control.

Pressing: Direct, Sustained, Strong

Pressing is applied to pushing, crushing and squeezing (pressing from both directions).

It is efficient in its use of space and is performed with bound flow which means that the action can be paused but not completely stopped.

However, there is still a sense of fluency similar to the glide.

Gravity and weight are closely aligned with this effort as they can help or hinder you depending on the direction in which you are pressing.

 

The Dynamospher

The Dynamospher was Laban’s term for the imaginary structure that illustrates the eight basic efforts.

They dimensional cross within the cube is structured in such a way that it illustrates the nature of time, weight and space.

Light to Strong: goes from the centre of the floor to the centre of the ceiling, indicating that light is high whilst strong is deep.

Flexible to Direct: goes from the centre of the right wall to centre of the left. This is because of the action of raising your arm or leg to either side. If you were to raise your right arm and move it to the right side of your body, you would be relatively free of resistance (freedom) but if you move it across your body to the left side, you would encounter resistance and the movement would be very limited and would, therefore, direct.

Sustained to Sudden: goes from the centre of the front wall to the centre of the back wall. Laban noted that we mainly use are arms and legs in front of our body where movement is easily sustained. If we move them behind our body, we encounter more resistance and our movements are necessarily short and therefore sudden.

Bibliography:

– Newlove, Jean, 1993, Laban for Actors and Dancers, Putting Laban’s Movement Theory into Practice, A Step-by-Step Guide, Nick Hern Books, United Kingdom

– Newlove, Dalby, 2004, Laban for All, Nick Hern Books, United Kingdom

Eclectic Theatre, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Bio-mechanics

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on February 27, 2011

Eclectic Theatre

Eclectic theatre essential brings material from a variety of sources. When eclectic theatre was beginning to emerge, many dramatists were rejecting many concepts of naturalism and realism. They were looking for something more modern and experimental. However, they still incorporated many elements of past styles, such as Epic Theatre, Absurdist Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed.

There came to be a greater focus on movement to tell a story, rather than dialogue. Theatre pieces began to emphasise dance, sound and light as ‘the primary expressions of language’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 238). Movement was made to be highly stylized and dramatist’s incorporated Asian ideas/techniques such as those found in Tai Chi and Butoh, as well as Laban’s theory of spatial movement, gymnastics, acrobatics and mime.

Eclectic theatre in the late 20th Century has been particular focussed on using movement as a means of story-telling.

Vsevolod Meyerhold and Bio-mechanics

Vsesvolod Meyerhold was the first to come up with what he labelled ‘bio-mechanics’. He had experimented with furthering Stanislavski’s approach in one of  Stanislavski’s workshops. Both believed that the one approach could not work for every play. Together they ‘(modernised)’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 199) Stanislavski’s style of acting. It is said in Acting in Person and in Style in Australia that the efficiency of bio-mechanics was a ‘reflex action’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 199) to the industrialised society. Movement became more significant and much emphasis was placed o gesture rather than dialogue.

Bio-mechanics were often unrealistic and mechanical and called on gymnastic s, circus movement, ballet, dance and acrobatics. Yet it was not for show; the employment of such things was to trigger emotion in the performer to add to the emotional impact on the audience. Bio-mechanics become very dissimilar to Stanislavski’s work as Meyerhold believed that ‘movement was superior to speech (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980: 200).

This comes under the umbrella of Symbolist Drama.

Symbolist Drama

Movement in symbolist drama helps to define relationships, as well as emotional and symbolic opinions. It becomes a ‘world in which reality and dreams mingle’ (Crawford, Hurst, Lugering, Wimmer, 1980:202). Actions are often disconnected and alter between that of a realistic and dream like state, much like the actual quality of a dream.

Often, movement is dehumanised to add emphasis on the surreal element of symbolist drama but are then smooth and flow freely in a dreamy fashion. It is a world in which transformation and a strong relationship between the extremes is crucial.