Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A pinprick for the light...

Some of the basic principals of the stage are simply... action, reaction, listening, high level of energy, listening, breathing, listening, crescendo, listening, articulation of space, listening... simple.  Sure.  In theory.  But everything we do here is improvised.  Gets a bit trickier.  And of course the wonderful repartee... 'The theme is the theme!'  Meaning as soon as a character walks on stage a 'theme' is established... A movement theme like a simple example is, they can't sit down... or they are waiting... or they are impatient or what ever.  As soon as a second character enters - at exactly the right moment - of course (because you were listening!) -  that established theme must be developed from the dynamic between the two characters...  Yes of course.  Development.  Obviously.  But really, even spotting the theme, so that you can actually develop it, takes super duper skills in.... listening!  Mmm.  Giovanni continually tells us that we are 'doomed to play the theme!'  So, if you don't feel what you do on stage and suddenly you change it... it stops working and the scene dies.  You've killed the play.  Basta.  Over.  Start again.  Listening.  So this is very fine and complex work.  Art.  Grr.

So there's that...

Now imagine placing brown bag over your face with a few pinprick holes punched into it and do all of the above... listen... act... react... clock the audience... articulate... breathe... develop the theme... technique... sentiment... listen!  Ahhhhhh!  And you can't actually see... never mind listen.  Swan dive off the Duomo...

Enter... daa daaa... Masks!

The other wonderful repartee... 'of course it's impossible... now go do it.'  And amazingly once you get over basically being blind... and have spent enough time looking at the mask and finding a shape with your body... and you breathe... play arrives.  Essential play.  Because most of the time you are pausing to 'listen' to what your on stage partner is doing so that you can react accordingly... hopefully.  And you have no idea what you are actually doing.  Because really you are blind.  But you have to trust the form and the mask.  Commit to the sense of play.  And only then can the mask live.  The mask really comes alive... seemingly changes facial expression with the actors changing sentiment.  A grumpy face suddenly smiles.  An arrogant face crumbles with sadness.  An aggressive face is suddenly overwhelmed.  And it is wonderful to watch.  Every tiny thing is amplified.  The smallest hand movement.  A look.  A breath.  The everyday becomes epic.  Matteo (movement teacher and mask maker extraordinaire!) keeps reminding us... inside a drop of rain is the whole universe.

And through the tiniest pinprick... light by which to play.

So... we have started this journey with larval masks, these are non-expressive masks, that force simple amplified essential play... non speaking masks that are very loud.

Photo courtesy of Helikos ... Larval Masks, the eyes of the mask are not the eyes of the actor... if you look closely you will see the pinpricks which let in the light!

At the same time as we burst open the door to this fantastic world we were also tasked to make our own mask without any help from each other or google... or whoever.  I tried to imagine if I had never made a mask before... what would I do... and this is what I came up with...

one - a balloon

two - paper mache

three - an alien! yay.
 four, the actual mask, will be in the next post.

Mmm... We get to play our home made masks next week in front of the public.  Lucky public! Art... and crafts.  What fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment