Tuesday, October 14, 2014

For a hefty hefty Pooh.

It was a long day of class, but in the best possible way. He had our last session with Bill on voice today ;-( We did a ton of exploratory exercises with the Measure For Measure text we got. We discussed what each of the words/phrases meant in each line of text. It's always fascinating to me that there are so many different ways of looking at one word and how it relates to all the other individual words in a given speech. Shakespeare's play-on-words is fantastically astounding. How many ways can we say one word and also how can we say one word and be talking about/conjuring so many ideas/meanings.

We went through grammar and did several moving exercises focusing on that or just vowels/consonants. Then we explored a few of the billion ways to say the words including whispering it in someone's ear, finding the spectrum of two emotions and the transitions, speed, and even giving the speech as a museum tour guide. Every exploration gave a slightly different approach to the text in ways that worked for some, surprised some, and didn't work for others.

It's great. It's like going on a shopping spree! Now I have all these new shiny tools in my belt to use!

Speaking of which, our second session today was with Ewan Downie from Company of Wolves. He will be working with us on our ensemble project in a few weeks. The movement work we explored with him today was visceral, organic, internal while maintaining awareness, and makes me chortle at the fact that if some outsider walked into the room they would discover a bunch of people contorting around doing "theater bullshit" that we get ever so stereotyped for. Poor unfortunate souls... They'll just never know. (I particularly liked the "golden oil" exploration.)

I for one, love this work and CANNOT WAIT to do more with Ewan. And for that matter, Kate Sagovsky.

On Friday, we had the pleasure of working with Kate Sagovsky. Last years cohort had her at the Globe for movement and loved her so much that Mark decided to bring her in special to work with us. I can see why. She has this wonderful bubbly energy with a modern twang to her and is surprisingly young for being a major movement teacher/associate with the Globe, RSC, National Theater. Boy does she know her stuff though. It was apparent within the first few minutes of working that I was gonna like the session, but after the first 30 min, I realized that I was going to continue to use this work far down my career path. 
Kate started with a focus/awareness "game" along the same vain as ones I do a lot in stage combat warm up. As part of that we did one of the fastest and most painless name games I've ever seen. The rule of Bob was also instigated. The rule of Bob is simple, and yet...
If you can't think of someone's name on the spot just call them Bob. No questions asked. Own it. Furthermore, if the words you wants aren't at the tip of your tongue, Bob it. No apologies. No stutters. The rule of Bob is the simplest way to train yourself to just keep going. No matter what. The show must go on!
We continued our work by walking the space and expanding the "game" of focus and awareness. Every little detail Kate added made us better at the "game". By mid class, I could literally feel myself improving and at the same time, I was so focused on the task at hand that sometimes it didn't occur until we went back to the "game". She did some foreshadowing exercises that came around in the end for us to have something other than the "game" as well as another perspective on how the work affects us and/or the audience. By the time we started working on text ("To be" speech specifically) we had tuned into our bodies and in retrospect only then were we ready to explore how to explore. (Dat's deep...) 
The 360 degree body is an amazing thing. It especially made sense in context with the Globe stage, but I can't see myself turning back now that I've tasted the pie...
I can't wait to work with Kate again and hope that I retain and continue to grow with this knowledge. With great power comes great responsibility.

Back to Ewan:
After our animal transformation exercise, we did more of the ever popular walking-the-space. Trying to keep the empty spaces filled, my mind was reminded of the work we did with Kate. It's amazing the change it makes both physically and mentally. Ewan furthered this by giving us the 5 basic ways to use the space: standing, walking (journey of the foot, heel-toe), jogging (toe-heel), sprinting (foot pad/toes), and jumping. This made the "game" much more active. Then we did a pair at a time in the center of the room using the 5 moves. No speaking. Dropping the breath. Being aware. 
This was very intriguing. It was hard for some people to let the mood change and drop the breath. I was reminded of dogs interacting in the dog run. In particular, one of my dogs, Riley. Riley would do all 5 moves as he saw fit when the moment hit him, No inhibitions. Of course. Why would he? He's a dog. It is definitely how I felt when I was paired up. At times I would feel playful and other times unsure. Depending on what I got from my partner, I was really ready to play, intimidate, pounce, be aggressive, avoid, etc. at any given notice. 
Our last exercise was a lesson/exploration in rhythm and listening and breathing of course. We di several patterns of stomps in different times. It was a definitely a test of stamina and reminded me and in particularly my feet of my suzuki training. Uff-da!

After class Claire, Sophie and I went for a a quick drink at the Butterfly and the Pig. I finally found a good dark beer I like from Scotland! HUZZAH! So definitely a good day. :-)

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