Tuning: Preparing to Perform with OBRA Theatre Co.

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog

This is a blog post I wrote for the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog describing some of my work with OBRA Theatre Co and the process of ‘tuning’  before our performances of Gaudete

Each night, prior to performing Gaudete with OBRA Theatre Companymy last task before vacating the stage was to tune my dulcimer. I needed to be sure that the wires had not loosened or tightened, that the strings would ring true in relation to each other when I came to play them in the performance. In much the same way, the last thing we did as an ensemble was to ‘tune’ ourselves; to the space, to each other, to arrive in that particular moment and place, to rediscover a shared quality of being together…

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Source: Tuning: Preparing to Perform Gaudete with OBRA Theatre Co. | Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog

Teaching at the Duende School – Athens 2015

I’ve just returned from Athens, where I had the great pleasure of teaching the first group of students to pass through the Duende School of Ensemble Physical Theatre.  From October to December 2015, a group of 19 participants from around the world took part in an intensive programme of training in ensemble theatre, movement, voice, rhythm and musicality. This programme led to the performance of a “The Ridiculous Dream”, based on Dostoevsky’s short story “The Dream of the Ridiculous Man”.

The focus of my work with this group was on developing their awareness and understanding of rhythm and musicality in movement and voice. We approached these as a means of creating performance work and connecting as an ensemble, building from the basic principles of pulse and simple rhythmic phrases, we explored the ways rhythm can give form and energy to movement and sound, and weave together the threads of an ensemble. In many ways this work is simple, it asks the performer to do basic actions like walking, clapping, speaking/sounding and familiar physical actions. Yet these simple acts can begin to feel very complicated when we pay attention to when and how we do them in regards to time and rhythm.  This one of the curious qualities of rhythm, it has the potential to make our action feel effortless and/or awkward. We encounter moments in this work where we feel like we are flying, carried by the rhythm, and moments when the body feels almost alien, unknown, dysfunctional… ridiculous. (more…)