Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ciao Newspaper Man

Last night our movement studio was turned into a little puppet theatre.  Visiting Australian puppeteer Jenny Ellis took us through her wonderful work and then we made our own newspaper puppets...  Trying as best we could to apply a few puppetry principals - giving the figure weight, breath and articulation.  It was such fun...  It was a short workshop so the work we did for each other was totally improvised and totally funny.  These crazy little figures coming suddenly to life.  This is Vika, me and Barbara and our little dude... Ciao Newspaper Man.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

A loud gesture

Two weeks.  Bang.  Gone.  Already... And we are one performance down.  Aaaah.  Amazing.  Third year Helikos in full swing.  We have began this year with Pantomime as our first theatrical territory... when I first heard that I had images of men wearing stax of stage make up dressing up as girls and so on... I am pleased to say that the whole thing is kind of over the top but it is not quite what I expected.  It never is.  Luckily.

A very quick background blurb >>>  Pantomime started back in the day when performers were forbidden to publicly criticize or poke fun at the authorities... it started with not allowing actors to speak on stage...  And boink enter the beginnings of pantomime with an off-stage translator... that was quickly abolished... now you may not speak at all!  And ta-daaa enter full-on pantomime.  Never underestimate the artists need to say something.  Pantomime...  Speaking through gesture >>>

So we returned to the silence...  How to turn sound into gesture so that it is in fact not silent at all.  If the margin for misunderstandings when you can speak is big - it is way bigger when you can't.  It's like everything we have learnt till now coming together to as simply and clearly as possible tell a story, with all the theatre ingredients you need... like a crescendo and a dynamic use of theatrical space - to name but two...

Theatrical space.  Yes.  I never spoke about our 'Trateau' project at the end of first year as I ran out of time and when I came back to it, somehow too much time had passed.  So - a trateau is a trestle sized stage that is raised on which five actors performed.  The physical space is squeezed so that theatrical space becomes infinite...  "When you have no space you have all the space in the world."  Ahh.  And that is what theatre should do shouldn't it... create imagined space.  Duh.  Obvious.  But not really.  We did a piece about a girl stolen from her village by a three headed dragon... Suddenly everything is possible.  Creating images.  Chorus work.  Changing perspectives.  Zooming in.  Miniaturisation.   Soundscapes... How theatre takes on cinema.

...So yes.  In these past two weeks we had to choose a popular film and transpose it for theatre using everything we have learnt.  Although we were not a trateau the principals are the same.  We did Pirates of the Caribbean and the others did Ghost Busters.  Hey?  Remember Ghost Busters!?

In our first performance our silence was too silent.  As we have learnt through the journey full masks and so on... the silence can be (and should be) very very loud.  So yes.  Only after being in the silence of gesture did we begin to add voice... which is actually tricky rather than instantly helpful as one might think.  The voice too needs to be transposed.  Of course.  Hectic.  So whilst it was a ton of fun it was confusing for the audience in parts - better play of space and cleaning up the use of voice will take it to the next level.  Hopefully.  We'll see.  Next time.  For now we're moving on.

In celebration of the journey of theatrical territories... and because i'm missing home...  Here are a few recent pics of Nick and I 'in the state' of different movie genres.  Photography by a friend of mine Bronwyn Stewart...  oh how we laugh.  Ha ha.

Melodrama 


Romantic comedy


Comedy

Horror... eeeeeee.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A puppet and a ping pong ball

Choreography with ping pong rackets ping pong balls a mini ping pong table and a puppet... The most wonderful lighting design... Great music... And a bit of philosophy made for a rocking night out to the theatre this weekend in Florence.  A Dance Tribute to Ping Pong. Rocking.  My best bit was the glow in the dark ball choreography.  Also the theatre hosting the festival was brilliant... A ting hole in the wall door that lead to a secret garden with lush green grass for a starlit pre show drink.  The theatre itself somehow had a perminant festival theatre feeling. I loved it.  I want one.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blue sky backdrop

The sun is shining in Florence... And we (Vika and I) ate Gelato (from Grom - rocking!) on the steps opposite Il Duomo (as eating on Il Duomo steps is illegal - for real) ...to celebrate being back in this amazing city.  Back at Helikos.  Back to being students.  Back generally.  For the last time... In this way at least.  There is something so exciting about that...  A feeling that you really have to take everything in.  Like this church.  For example.  And we have began in full swing with theatrical territories... starting with Pantomime.  More on that soon.  Yay.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hello Italy

Joburg to Rome via Addis Abbaba.  And finally Firenze.  The old man sitting on the pavement outside the corner cafe is still there.  A continuous fixed point.  The old woman with the pink hair, the fur coat, the lace gloves and the gold takkies passes me. On her way to anywhere.  I lug my now very heavy suitcase to our apartment past the Madonna and child painting which three years ago, at the beginning of this massive journey, I stood beneath crying.  24 hours later and I'm back in my old room.  The familiar sound of wheels on wet tar.  A church bell tolls.  A distant dog barks.  Third year has began.  Hello Italy.  Ciao Firenze.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chim chimany

The final episode of Out of the Blue... Season One ;) was shot yesterday. And it was sad. Deborah who plays the lead Sue took us on a whirlwind retrospective of all the episodes... And then with bag in one hand, umbrella in the other, flew out to the chorus musical backing of the support cast... And with that she was gone.  In the most delightful way.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On the front porch

Nick has been complaining recently that we never take pics anymore... So as a gift I booked a Spring shoot with the wonderful Browyn Stewart from Heart and Soul Photography... This was amoung the sneak peak pics she sent in the middle of the night.  Ah.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

The road is long

Pinch and a punch it's the first of the month.  The month in which from around the world we descend upon Florence... for our third and final year at Helikos International School of Theatre Creation.  But sadly not all of us.  Helena will remain tucked away in her newly formed studio creating theatre masks in Helsinki, Finland.  And I shall miss her desperately.  So as I think of the beginning of the next part of our journey I have a heavy heart... knowing that Helena - such a brave and brilliant player - will not be there.  For now life has other plans for her.  I shall miss her.  Very much.  But hopefully the road really is long... and we shall meet again.  Till next time.  Till then.

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