Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pinocchio and the Old Goat

This is a pic of the postcard i'm about to post home... and it captures my week rather well... namely, Pinocchio [as seen swimming away from the shark], and the little goat [as seen peering down from the rock].  Yes...  Our storytelling adventures continue.  The week started out with Pinocchio, which sadly did not work... When telling a classic epic tale [or any story for that matter] it becomes very important that you know what you want to say and that you develop a common language to say it... both of which we did not manage this time around.  We have promised a glass of wine and a dinner in honour of our wooden friend whose soul we did not capture... this time.  Perhaps there will be a next time... with more time.  We shall make it up to you Pinocchio.

The week ended on Saturday with a public performance of a selection of stories from the previous two weeks... for me it was the Grimms Tale... 'Wolf and the Seven Goats.'  I know.  Who's heard of that one!?  I hadn't.  After the horror of doing another solo wore off it was rather fun playing an old goat and her 7 kids who get eaten by the wolf.

So, this week has been a major reminder of...  Crescendo.  What doesn't go up necessarily goes down.  Momentum.  Pace.  Rhythm.  The driving force... the push and pull of story.  Know what you want to say.  Ahhh.  And then say it.  Once upon a time...  Preferably in Italian... C'era una volta...

(see full image)

Through the streets of Florence

We have started running.  No.  I'm not even kidding.  Through the streets of Florence.  Once a week.  Besides the stitches and the faint taste of blood ... and the majority of the group who find it easy! ... it is actually fun.  Yes.  It's true.  Ready steady go.

(see full image)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knock knock.

As winter slowly begins to stretch her arms and pull us in close...  and low cloud hangs heavy over Florence threatening rain.  I ventured out for a Saturday afternoon walk to clear my head, and two artists ventured out to paint two lions head door knockers... It made me think of the mime walk argument... that goes something like 'Its all very well to have brilliant walking technique, but where are you going?'  ...Its all very well to accurately paint identical door kockers but where do they lead?  As Barbara says...  Knock knock.  Who's there?  ...we'll see.

(see full image)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Once upon a time...

A week of story telling.  I cannot help being reminded of the work of oh-so-brilliant Ellis Pearson in this week...  The 'neutral' storyteller holding a piece together as it flows from action and character back to the storyteller.  Ahh.  I miss Ellis.

We started the week with Grimms fairy tales.  Little Red Ridinghood... Hansel and Gretel... Snow White... the stuff of childhood.  The studio was filled with talking donkey's, and wolves, and dwarfs and mirror's and goats and and and... shape shifting between characters... creating different imagined spaces... changing rhythm all the time... looking for the crescendo... vocal resonance gymnastics... I think my favourite moment was when Justin telling the story of 'The Brementown Musicians' did the chain reaction of each animal as they jumped one on top of the other to look into the window of the house... a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster...  A stunning little explosion of technique and play.  It was fantastic.  Suddenly right there before us was a totem pole of creatures... what one person can do.

The process has also been fascinating... many times we have returned to the mimodynamic movement of the first year... materials, elements, animals... to find the dynamic of the story or to find the voice of a character.  Totally brilliant.  For example.  Finding the abstract movement of a herd of goats [in the tale 'Wolf and the Seven Goats'].  Then adding the sound, any sound.  Then letting go of the abstract physical movement and rather finding the same 'movement' in breath... from there adding sound... and from there shifting it to the voice of the goats.  The result was totally surprising and completely right.  So clever.  Liz... our voice teacher... so clever.

Because story is beneath everything we do always, the story has to be important... and 'who will tell it, if not you?'  To quote Giovanni Fusetti.  So the creation for this week was a solo performance of a story from your country, your culture... a legend, or a fairytale, or an historic story.  After much 'what to do, I don't actually have any culture' panic I settled on the story of Saartjie Baartman.  Scary.  For me.  For obvious reasons.  But there you go... after breaking down with Freya and Vika thinking how can I actually do this.  I could not 'change groups' - being the only person in my group - and I had no other story.  So I forged ahead... trying to apply some of the schools pedagogy... if it makes you cry you should go further into it.  This story is not only a wound for South Africa and England and France but for humanity.  Actually.  Vika and I have had many a cup of tea discussing culture and when it is yours and who can tell what stories and the human condition generally... and one of her many interesting conclusions is that reality TV shows are modern day circus freak shows.  I agree.  It's interesting.  Yip.  It's been pretty full on.  There were several moments this week where I - and I think all of us - felt so challenged I didn't think I'd get through it.  But you do.  Of course.  Aaaah.  And I'm glad I didn't change stories... and the pedagogy I believe works.  What a luck I'm here.

The solo's rocked... it was so fantastic to see all the different voices in the room... from the Danish Snow Queen and her swarm of white bees for snow flakes... to the Norwegian Polar Bear who is in fact a bewitched handsome prince... to the German man Brandner Kaspar and his brilliant death dodging... and so many many more.

Moving on.  We are getting a bigger studio!  Very exciting... so today we went to help get it ready for a couple of hours...

Vika warming her hands by the gentle flicker of a working light

Vika, Giovanni and Barbara being demented workers

Me sweeping with a dust mask... to try and preserve my disappearing voice