It is increasingly difficult to try to recall everything we did in class, especially in sequence. The work is so based on experience that it’s hard to remember what follows what and how to assign words to those experiences. It is really, a mark of virtuosity from all teachers here - they do their jobs well - which is to guide us to engage with the imagination and the body in such a way that we are aware of the work while we’re in it, not stepping outside of it.
I think I’ll try to just talk about a couple of discoveries that really stay with me and serve as land posts in my journey with this work. In the morning with Dawn (who is chock full of a quiet wisdom and grace), we touched on the 4 main qualities again, opened up the front space and the backspace - explored, meaning got it back in our bodies, then started layering it. e.g. being in the front space was confidence, while being in the back space was doubt; Molding was caution and flying was exhilaration. Then Dawn introduced us to the 3 Sisters, which we had heard so much about but never really delved into. It always starts in the body, so we explored them physically: falling, floating, and balancing. The way I understand it, these are another category of directions/qualities in this work. To my delight, when we worked with our characters and texts using these qualities/directions - it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. I have always been somewhat intimidated by written dramatic text, but using the 3 sisters in doing text was effortless. It conjured up many more things than the 4 main elemental qualities, for example. Trying to figure out why. And here it is - the 3 sisters are directional. They call on our relationship to gravity - my body understands this more, knows what to do. Which then, creates sensations in my body, the imagination is at work. Dawn comes to complete the realization: “Sensations are the doorway to feelings. We can never go straight to feelings.”
The work is full of opportunities to just engage and take ownership of your own imaginative process. There is no set way - all these qualities and gestures we have been offered are there to serve our own process. For this, of course, one needs a strong perspective and a good ear to listen. Both are muscles we have been training in these last couple weeks.
Ted Pugh brought in more perspective on this in the afternoon. We worked with physical centres and character centres. These centres can be in our bodies and outside them, even. These centres and images are there to activate sensations which lead into characters. I am loving this luxurious honoring of character creation and interpretation. Ted encouraged us here to find the stream (in ball throwing and other engagements and especially interactions) - we must be able to see, recognize and enter the stream. what is that? I understand it intuitively and have experienced it…. It is… the awareness that there is something greater than what I can do or muscle through. It is a momentum of energy that travels through everything and everyone, and so, if you just tap into that, well your work is so much easier.
Dawn began to clarify the difference between psychological gesture and archetypal gesture (a conversation that continued the next day with Joanna Merlin). The Archetypal gesture is an elusive term when used alongside Psychological gesture. But they are not different at all, in fact, they are same thing, more or less. Psychological gesture can build on archetypal one and becomes psychological when infused with the character’s intention and context. I get a sense of this, even though it’s elusive and mysterious, feels confusing. But somehow, I get it. I am ok with being in the unknown (thank you, Dell’Arte), and so the complicated nature of this archetypal v psychological gestures makes sense to me. To quote one teacher here - the work doesn’t go up by levels, it goes wide.
Finally, here’s another land post: the inner and the outer world are always in dialogue. Yes. I experience this in my work. Of course you begin with the physical which informs the gesture and catapults the imagination, creates inner worlds, which IN TURN, inform the outer again. It is an ongoing communication - never a set thing and walk away. Imagination and perspective. And Rigour and listening.