STAT CPD Day: Acting
Workshop participants will gain insights into the needs of actors and how using Alexander’s ideas can help them. They will explore practical ways of applying of Alexander work - based on material brought by colleagues with experience in this field.
Participants will learn more about what an actor wants/needs from studying “use” in the way we understand it. In working with performing artists, it is helpful to become familiar with their aims and difficulties, and to experience for ourselves some of the challenges they face to better be able to communicate with them and develop constructive ways of integrating Alexander work into their practice and performance.
Preparation and Play, Intention and Attention: Lucia Walker
How the actor prepares is fundamental to dealing with performance anxiety or “stage fright”. Being in a connected state, that is both calm and lively, allows for clear communication with ourselves, other players and the audience.
In this session I will present games and practices designed to explore:
Releasing the imagination: Niamh Dowling
In this workshop the focus is on introducing an experiential understanding of the relationship of the head to the spine and demonstrates ways to set up and maintain the conditions of this relationship in movement and ultimately how this impacts on the imaginative content of the actor’s text or song. Singing makes an exaggerated demand on the voice and would be an ideal place to notice the impact of the work on the technical demands of voice and body. The final stage investigated in the workshop is the point at which the technical work releases the imagination and we see the images and pictures within the song/text.
Presence/the neutral mask; for the wearer of the mask to explore and discover and for an audience to witness/share: Bea Pemberton
The workshop will use exercises the French Master, Jacques Lecoq developed in his search for the creative potential of the expressive body. The neutral mask is a performance tool for discovering the body in balance, alert, available, and present. It reveals and highlights our idiosyncrasies and helps the performer to gain conscious control over them. Through various exercises and improvisation, the workshop will examine the experience of the performer and the invaluable role of the non-judgemental observer. We will look at the huge importance of simplicity in thought, clarity in gesture and the importance of intention in performance using a combination of the Alexander technique and theatre exercises. We will observe the importance of the gaze of the eyes, the availability of the monkey, the balance of the head and how these amongst other things are all hugely significant in being present and prepared.
Transformation Workshop: Penny O’Connor
Actors as well as technically having to move well and speak well, need to transform themselves from their habitual self to other characters in all sorts of use patterns and characteristics, some of which may be harmful if not approached reasonably. Yet the actor is asked to be real, truthful and spontaneous. How can AT help with this? Currently the MA course I work with are using Meisner’s acting method, in which truthful response is a base requirement, responding in the moment to the stimulus another actor is giving them. In this workshop I intend to explore how the Meisner work complements AT work, how the ‘Higher Creative Self’ which empties them of psycho-physical habit, can give actors a tool to find their character easily and effortlessly; and demonstrate a simple exercise in allowing actors to be in a directed state even whilst playing such physically challenged characters as Richard III or Laura from Glass Menagerie. Be prepared for active participation!
"Four very different practitioners all higly skilled in their own specialisation"
"...the teachers, the participants, the content, the experiential nature of the day. An inspiring and enjoyable day"
"...very warm and friendly welcome"
"...chance to refresh my understanding of AT and gain new insights"
"...we saw how much more easily and fluidly they could take on the other's characteristics"
"I found that wearing the mask instantly inhibited my habitual ways of responding to being watched by a group (usually by smiling), revealing to me that that is what I normally do"
"Niamh and Penny then gave a brilliant demonstration of what happens when you bring text into these explorations"
"It was a very rich day for me in terms of learning and experience so many thanks to the organisers, helpers and presenters"
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