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During last week’s training we looked afresh at exercises we’ve been working on for months. We slowed them down, considered them from different perspectives. We looked with curiosity. Curiosity seems pretty key to the life of an actor. The joy of exploration, of solving problems , finding answers that ask more question, always thirsting to know more about the world, your characters, yourself.
Every week we examine the red and blue wave. As an actor who has studied Suzuki, feeling the power of the earth through my feet and the wave that comes from that during the blue wave makes sense. The red wave however, seeming to come from the universe downward, but not so downward that it bone crushingly knocks you to the floor, is more complex. Letting, the wave pass through you and to a point across the room, rather than into the floor is another challenge. But last week, there was a comment about disengaging the foot from the ground before the wave reaches it, when it is at chest height. This seemed to help me significantly to get a sense of the wave passing through me rather than stopping at me. Having this small success, I’m left with many more questions- why red, why blue, why these waves, how do they echo the waves found in physics, are there other waves to consider?
And what do these waves mean for my performances? It seems to me that every play, monologue, every line, every word is in essence its own wave, passing through us. We are the conduit, the energy passes through us, but doesn’t stop with us, we must allow it to reach our audience across the room. The wave, the energy flow, the exchange, is really the essence of communication, the essence of theatre. I’m excited to attempt the waves again with this notion that they are a microcosm of a play.
Training also included work on movement up and down stairs, using the upward energy of gravity to go up stairs and the downward to go down. Going downstairs super fast has been one of my secret loves since I was about 8 - the closest thing to flying. And every time I do it even now, I feel like a child, delighted at the motion of my body through space. But flying up stairs was a new experience, it was not uniformly felt, but occasionally, the momentum of the energy built up and I suddenly realized I was half way up the flight of stairs without even realizing it!
The final element of training included propositions or compositions on Life Is A Dream. It was really delightful to see the variety of responses to the play and the games created by it. From a book on the head standoff, to a darkened soundscape, to monologues, duologues and hand puppets, it's fascinating to see the varied interpretations of this 500 year old work and also the drama and comedy sitting side by side. I look forward to more!
Ali Kennedy Scott