Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Body Remembers

This morning started out with three more hours of Commedia.
We did a brief warm up followed by body isolations - from the neck all the way down to the ankles. After this we did a crazy exercise in neutral mask; I'm not even going to try to explain it on here because it's very lengthy, but it felt a bit like human chess. (Harry Potter anyone?)
The basic idea behind the exercise is that as an actor, you must know, understand, and obey the rules of the world you are creating and living in. Not only that, but it is important to know exactly what you are doing onstage and to be specific with it. I wish I had a tape of the exercise we were doing - it was so unbelievably specific. You could hear Michele echoing throughout the room, "No! Don't mix it..you are mixing it! I know this seems 'vury vury' difficult, but I promise you it is easy" in his thick Italian accent. Easier said than done. I'm pretty sure we all struggled with it, but in the end...it is an exercise all about entering the stage, acting, reacting, and exiting.

I know that the reason we are doing this work is because of how direct acting in Commedia is and how specific your movements must be in order for it to be effective. So difficult, but SO exciting.

After Commedia I had lunch followed by Italian and Philosophy.
In Philosophy, Scott handed around a mini replica of Michelangelo's David and asked us to make a direct judgement about it. People said a lot of things; it's a fake - the original is beautiful but this is just a wannabe, it reminded me of this...and so on and so forth. After we had all said our thoughts, Scott said: "Ok. Only one of you answered my question. I asked you to make a direct judgement about it and one of you said, "I like the way it feels in my hands." (Sam said this). In every other one of our answers, the judgement was a completely indirect experience - based off of some pre-existing filter that we have for what we see. His point being that we, as humans, are unable to approach the world in a direct way; we always mediate. Where does this mediation come from and how do we deal with it? I. love. philosophy.

After this we had a brief meeting, then dinner, and then after dinner we watched "Les Deux Voyages de Jacques Lecoq" (a brilliant film, for those of you who haven't seen it). It's a documentary showing actors being trained at the Lecoq school in France. For those of you who don't know, Lecoq is one of the most influential physical theatre teachers ever. He was a firm believer that "Movement is the how" - the basis for everything we do. The video was fascinating - getting to see him work with his students was mind blowing. Today, anytime an actor does movement work, they will probably do some exercises that are Lecoq. There are certified teachers of the method world wide and those lucky enough to study at the university.....man. They are lucky. I will leave it at that. If any of you are interested, you should check out the film. Some of the stuff they do in the film are things that we have already begun doing so it gives you a better idea of what I'm learning over here :)

I just finished Italian homework and am off to bed.
Buona Notte amici!
PS Sorry that I have no interesting pictures lately. I've been so busy with class that I haven't had a lot of free time to explore. Soon - I promise!

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