Savannah's Theatre Blog

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!