Monday, December 31, 2007

Training 12/30 Fun & Forging Ahead

Gabe here gang. I want to say up front, Sunday's training was one of the most fun sessions I've ever had! I'm psyched about our training & rehearsal process for 2008. My goal, since I was out of the loop for a while, was to build momentum and re-engage into our work over the holidays and use that momentum to propel myself with increased confidence, vigor and vigilence for our company. Mission accomplished. I feel fantastic. That being said, this was why Sunday was fun, freeing and informative.

After Wendy led us in yoga she did so with Niky time and started it off with folk music for the first half of the physical exercises. It released a fun light air that allowed my body to engage more fluidly and Wendy's voice just made me smile. It was a very organized recess. That set the tone. About 10 minutes into it, Wendy said to follow your front wave with a backwards wave then vice-versa; I've never tried that before. It loosened my body more and I felt a greater sense of fluidity between the momentum, suspension and gravity. Once again, the gooey electricity passing through, mmmmmmm good, very good energy-Yummy :)

At the end she made us close our eyes instructing us to find each other with self-imposed blindness. When we finally found ourselves huddled up together, we opened our eyes and it was a generous yet cohesive way to end, which felt spot on; why? We were connected through our energy and this led to an unexpected event later on in our training that afternoon. I'll get to that in a bit.

I feel the structure we've had the last two weeks has worked well in its organic progression: warming up the body (yoga), engaging the body (Niky), relaxing again w/reinvigoration (Linklater voice), full engagement with body & voice (Robert Taylor).

Next to bat was Malone. Liz does a good job relaxing us first with Zen-like meditation and visualization; then we get into what I like to call "the vibes-n-stuff" of the Linklater method. Due to Liz's diligent progression in the Linklater technique, I once again felt more of the spaces in my body which allow the vibrations to release themselves having your body be the channel for the voice & energy. I feel tons of space in my joints, body cavities & chambers. I feel extraordinarily open and light. Well done Liz.

In leading the Taylor work, I used a page from the Linklater we did in order to connect a breathing excercise with the physicaliztion of the jump in "lyric". Liz led us in an exercise where we already expanded our rib cage, lower back and torso to allow us to breathe in more air by the following method: pinch the nostrils, breathe in for a few seconds, release the nose and the air sucks in like a vacuum cleaner. You feel the heightened sensation of your lungs filling up with air from your lower back (near your kidneys) filling up your body cavity. Air expansion from the bottom up sort-of-speak.

I used this image to demonstrate, in a similar manner, your inhale coming from this place actually launches you into a lyric jump and the exhale leaves you light on your feet. Like the way booster rockets launch the space shuttle; the exhale is the parachute that lands you gently. Using this image was helpful to the group and felt cool in practice--the gooey electricity once again revisits, mmmmm, good energy, yummy :)

We also worked again with the two lines facing opposite each other, running to one another, making the connection then going. I stressed again the importance of starting slow (rather than full sprint) and making the energy connection was more important than speed.
When we did get to sprint speed the connection was there and more effective. I really like working with the no arms neutrality. I feel it cuts much of the crap out of the way and makes our connections stronger. I'm eager to implement the Alexander techniques Margi suggested in the previous entry onto this work. I'm discovering that creating a solid neutral base is the foundation and key to good character work. It really allows you to be a better channel and more like our credo: Magis-more life less stuff. Because let me tell you, I'm the king of adding unnecessary shit to character. It feels good shedding that garbage.

At the end of the text circle, after many solid energy engagements, it hit me (and it came from Wendy at the end of Niky time)--CLOSE THE EYES. Frank in Erica were in the middle, I said "hold" & "close the eyes" to everyone. I stressed to feel the energy in & out of the circle; that we were all one unit, and I felt the buzzzzzzz between all of us and not a word was said. It felt like the on the night of "The Great Divorce" when the audience was silent for about 2-3 minutes after the show had ended--exactly what Padre & our company was going for--that sense of anything could happen next as well as in a suspended state of "Thoughtful" revelation of speech. Mmmmmm, good energy, yummy :) Most excellent.

Finally, Erika went old-school and we sawed wood vocally. An elightening reminder (from Erika through our teacher Priscilla Smith) that we are smaller vehicles that channel this energy from the gods and occasionally have to reach into our epic darkness to relay the message of the the charcters we play. I'll let Erika elaborate, I do no justice in the eloquent yet down-home way she broke it down. Awesome way to end.

And this my friends is just the beginning. Gladiators, I salute you.


1 comment:

Magis Theatre Company said...

Good stuff on the connection... yes the "power" of the run can sometimes make it a "confrontation" rather than connection and it is important to keep it as a connection. I think when we can fold the Alexander stuff in, like you said, it will be an even purer connection.
Yeah that buzz of the air when the eyes are closed. What is that anyway? For me it seems like an immediate visceral response of our "attention" to the panic of having its primary (and often over-used and overly comfortable) means of engagement taken away. I think our attention is the thing that buzzes when we try to engage in new ways. Isn't that what we want to do on stage all the time?