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

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