Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Turtle's Birthday

In the second week of animals... I finally played a Giraffe... and I think perhaps in my previous life I may have been a Giraffe. In fact I'm sure of it. Animals give one a very specific physicality - ah obviously - and that instantly brings a sentiment to the actor which gives a delightful sense of play to performance... like, for example...

Status - a Giraffe out ranks a Bulldog. Amplified emotion - a Turtle is instantly vulnerable and somehow tragic. Behavior - a Monkey cannot help doing the very thing she's not supposed to do.

That week for our creation we told a story of a Giraffe mother whose Pig and Hamster daughters ruin their Turtle Grandmother's birthday. Flirting with tragedy on the edge of comedy... We performed it at an open evening to the public. Animals are understood in all languages. Even Italian. What a luck.

That week I was thinking about mime... Mime is a fascinating thing. And a difficult thing. Playing pretend. Creating that which is not there... in the mind of the audience. Our piece started with the Giraffe setting a table. The table was of course mimed. So there is no table... obviously... that's why it's mime. Matteo, our wonderful movement guru, was talking about mime and about the fact that you cannot as an actor stand there, on the stage, and tell yourself... 'I can see the table... it's right there...' Because it isn't right there - there is nothing there but the space... where the table should be. If the table was physically on stage and then you took it away the space where it was is real. So if you, the actor, can see the space of the table, then the table is real in the mind of the audience. Mime is like magic and it's because the space is real. Art.

Matteo does a Shakespeare play in the style of Commedia dell'Arte every year with a group from England and this year he is doing... A dream of summer in the middle of the night. Poetry.

Giraffes at Pistoia Zoo, Italy from Jenine Collocott on Vimeo.

The Giraffe at the Pistoia Zoo that I studied for movement. I put upbeat music to it but i'm not sure it goes a long way to make it a less grim than what it was. So moving on to happier things...

That week I made Koeksisters... I really did. The syrup and everything... I went on line I got the recipe and then the lovely Sarah Foster helped in her somewhat more equipped kitchen and that Friday there was a little South African Afrikaans cuisine in the Progresso, the old Communist headquarters in Florence where our studio is. Strange.

Aside from the one or two that were a little too crisp... they were really quite delicious. Mmm.