As people begin to know each other more and to ease into the work more, great things arise out of that.
We spent our morning with Sol on Tuesday, who is from Madrid. She does martial arts, and physical theatre, which is visible, and her work with the Michael Chekhov technique is really in concert with all these aspects of her practice. The technique lies in support, in relation to everything else - it is a total perspective, which has been a gift to notice.
We did qualities of movement with her - exploring the four main ones, which are related to the elements (a parallel to Lecoq here - I continue to notice these parallels. this entire work runs alongside my own training in physical theatre, it is great to revisit these things, but name them differently, or see them from a different perspective, perhaps in a more formalised context):
Flowing (water) - rooted but traveling, expansive
Molding (earth) - heavy and grounded
flying (air) - weightless
radiating (Fire) - also weightless, destructive, upward directive
Lots of really great work here, always very physical. Always the body is the starting point. And of course, when we work with these images or suggestions, whatever you want to call them, it is never a literal interpretation of them. Sol says: “the image, the quality is the springboard for character to arise. I don’t want to see you as the flowing quality.“
Now, lots to talk about here, especially having done similar elemental Lecoq-inspired stuff: do you become this element, or… you imagine it in a part of your body? I try to leave analysis outside of this as much as I can, and stay in the experience. This is the only way to learn ro to clarify, and I trust the body to teach me. I have many questions, but I’ll leave the brain alone for a while.
Sol also did with us the prep - the presence that is aware, available, and responsive: head to ceiling, fixed gaze, arms out, breathe in and out, etc. This is a great practice even for before rehearsals that I will take with me. All centered around breath.
Sol then went on to do action scores with us, that get qualities added to them.
Another great perspective from Sol: “you have to understand your role as the actor. Do not do the job of the audience. Your job is to create an opportunity for the character to arrive. It is not for you to say or thinkn - oh, this is really sad, so I must make it sad. That is not for you to say. That is for the audience to receive and deduce.“
Doing the quality fully, emotion follows right after.
Sol: the body and mind are not separated. When we imagine, we connect/use both.
And many many other gems from her, and my own reflections that I can’t even put to words coherently yet.
Importantly, not all of this feels news to me… This training gives me more appreciation fr the training I received at Dell’Arte. As with most things that are important, they are simple and take learning and re-learning. This feels a bit like that.
The afternoon class was with Ragnar, a fascinating teacher, who named his class: crossing the threshold and moving into the unknown. Lots of ensemble improvisation here as well as stepping into the circle to look and really see people. The main one from here: “what would happen if you allow it to come in?“ Receiving is nothing more that allowing something to exist there.
Great class, sometimes hard for me to really get into some moments, but Ragnar is an inspiration, always pointing to the body and the physical. The body never lies and why would we not listen to it? we lie otherwise.