I can not believe these two weeks are over, they have flown by with out my realising! This has turned out to be a very informative week, full of ups and downs. But mainly ups. Everyone is a little more familiar with each other this week, and I personally am feeling very comfortable and invigorated with what our combined collaboration can bring.
This week brought less physical activities and allowed more time to discuss important elements of theatre making. We had a discussion on the Monday about stage direction within scripts and what that can, and can not do to the rehearsal process.
This was an interesting topic, I am very new to scripts and am used to highly collaborative dance processes where everything is created in the room; from story to characters and narrative. But what if apart from the words actors say, there is also direction for movement in a script? This I learned can often hinder a creative process, many times because it is a specific direction that sometimes does not leave room to be played with and tweaked. This can make a moment seem false.
This point struck a cord for me, if there are multiple collaborators it is important to make sure everyone is involved in the creative process. From the movement director to the sound designer (if there is one). If you do not allow time for all artists to play with their ideas in a space it leaves room for ‘placed’ moments. It could also mean that you may be expressing something twice within multiple elements of theatre. If you are exploring a particular feeling of loneliness in a scene it would be too much to show that emotion through both the sound, movement and text. This is when an audience is not believing the moment.
Scott began discussing what he called ‘the potential for movement’. It is a very interesting mentality, it is the idea that the moment before an action is when you really have an audience’s attention. The suspense before a moment can hold people on the edge of their seats. This I can relate to horror films, it is the suspense before the action that has everyone terrified, this is when your imagination runs rampant and can take you to places that no real life image can lead you to. In regards to movement, the moment an actor lifts their hand to place it on someone is the richest moment. As at this time no one knows what could happen, it holds the most potential for a surprise. I am intrigued to see what could happen if we played with the potential for movement, where can it be taken before the moment is ruined?
We began discussing the importance of not informing the performers of your ideas with regards to a scene. Scott, I realised is correct in the fact that if you tell an actor exactly what you need out of a scene they will create something they believe you need, to be helpful to you. Unfortunately it is not. If you ask a performer to create a fight scene they will create that exact image they see in their mind. However to create something different and unique you need to take what Scott calls ‘The Crooked Path’. It is the route that does not take the direct trajectory to what you want. He says to go round and find something that has nothing to do with what you need and play. For Scott’s show Stockholm, he gave the actors a task to create a phrase with a tea towel and see where it can take them if they are moving around in a kitchen having a flirt. Once they had that task, he gave them particular directions until it became a series of moves that resembled a violent fight between a couple. The sequence would not have been found if he resorted straight to a fight between lovers.
I believe this way of working relieves pressure on both the director and performers and allows time for everyone to play and discover what potential lies within seemingly impossible ideas.
The other fantastic point from Scott was ‘if you present the impossible you will be given a compromise.’ It is a valid point, particularly from performers. If they are presented with an idea that seems impossible they will offer compromises to something they think they can not do. Where if time is given in a space and the performer is not presented that information they will produce movements and ideas that would have initially not occurred or seemed possible to them.
These two weeks have really opened my eyes to movement and its ever ongoing surprises. It was lovely to see everyone embrace what might have been for some very unfamiliar territory, and produce things that were so interesting and could not have been found by any dancer. It is incredibly rewarding to be within that process where people leave that day, proud of the material they created. I hope to continue to find myself in these environments.