On our last day, Dawn aptly addressed the parts of the work that we hadn’t done at all or enough of: psychological gestures and Staccato/Ligato. After a Tree warm-up, we went straight into Staccato/Ligato - which I take to be a physical engagement to warm up the body and the imagination to the main directions and introduce a basic idea of quality of movement in the body. The actions go right, left, up, down, forward back, and they are always related to breath - the container for everything. There is always the impulse to go, action, suspension, and return. Dawn drops a truth bomb early on: Our impulse is nothing but our Energetic/imaginary body already doing it.
Importantly, Staccato/Ligato contains polarity - we go opposite first to go where we’re going, it is a preparation. This is nothing new in the physical theatre world, of course, Meyerhold and his Biomechanics centering around that for movement études.
Doubly importantly, the staccato/ligato sequence is always fully embodied and fully-breathed, and there are always steps involved. A sequence of 2 staccatos, 2 ligatos, 1 staccato, 1 ligato is a great way to start a rehearsal and a practice.
This is a nice transition into Gesture.
Dawn reminds us - gesture is related to will (pelvis), so you always take a step in it. As we explore these archetypal actions/gestures, they travel, and I notice how much the body loves to move in these actions - it knows, it’s familiar, and it calls on the primal things all humans know.
E.G. Pull - it starts with a step in the front space, travels toward and ends in the backspace, and there’s a beginning, middle, and an end to it. Similar to Staccato/ligato - there is the impulse to move, the movement, the sustaining, and the end.
We are asked: where does the gesture feel most juicy? Oftentimes, you feel it best close to the core. But that’s your entry point into the Stream. Staying in the stream, of course, is hard. But Dawn assures us that you get better at it. To aide identify that juicy gesture part, we say words when we get there.
e.g. when Pulling - “I am pulling” right at the sweet spot; “I’m tearing”
Will drop out here just to say: GODDAMN! some of these gestures… physicalizing them fully already puts you in a presence that is electric - things start churning and activating in the inner world, you start seeing images, hearing, breathing differently. It is voluminous and intense. The Stream is definitely very clear with gestures like Tear or Wring. It’s overwhelming in the most delicious way. I share many “holy shit” glances with my “tether” mate in this session.
Dawn explains: Archetypal gestures trigger human experience, there is a universality in this humanity.
And these are just the archetypal actions/gestures. If you begin to experiment with qualities for these actions, the imagination flies. The exploration is endless and endlessly fun and rich. For example, some gestures, like Tear, can happen fast, so you must ride it that fast, with little to no sustaining; others can happen fast but be sustained longer. What does a Wring with a molding quality look like and what does it stir in the inner life?
We then added text to the exploration - our Three Sisters text. As mentioned in other entries, text is hit or miss with me. My Kiwi twin sister in the classroom shares this with me. Sometimes words hit flat and give away a lie, compared to the vastness that is happening in my body. Dawn assures us that it gets better and better, the more we practice the muscle, and even offers to think of words as being swept up in the Stream, as opposed to something we add to it.
You cannot really reap the beautiful fruits of this technique unless you take ownership over your own process and infuse it with your own perspective. The whole thing is based on listening, so we must listen.
With that, we finished… Just like that.
And now… how to leave a place that has given so much and brought me so much light? I don’t know how to leave it. The soul is expanded, the heart is full, and the mind is arrested.
I’ll admit there is a little bit of panic at returning into the “real” world (is it that real, though?).
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, how do you leave a place that has brought faith again that the impossible is possible? A place where the inner and outer worlds of the actor-poet live harmoniously listening and responding to each other and we inhabit a total experience of working, sharing, and being in community with one another?
The hope and desire is to extend, radiate this into my daily artistic practice. Of course. It must be radiated.
The farewell from physical place and community and layered time makes it bittersweet and I can’t help but walk with a bowed head as I travel back to Scotland - in awe at the possibilities of our humanity, in humility, in big love for new artistic family members and the IMAGINATION.
How to leave a place where (artistic) life is lived so fully?!
A full life. A full life. Full. A reminder and inspiration for a full life, every day. (Appropriate, no? as I literally fly into the sunrise flying East)