So now it is time to start thinking where I need to direct my gaze…
As a teacher and youth theatre director it is very easy in some respect to see how I can best utilise my new knowledge or practise my ideas. It is fascinating to explore the practical elements that I have taken part in and start to engage with this and development the skills of those I work with daily/weekly. One: it keeps it all alive and in the memory and two: it leads on to being able to share in the experience and perhaps stimulating a discovery That will be of creative value.
I recognised the value in this when talking to Scott and Simon in my check in with them. I spoke about the opportunity I had between the two weeks to work with my youth theatre and how in an improvisation task I had set them off on before my MA introductory course with Frantic I was now able to take the exercise and experiment with some new material.
The improvisation in its self was a fun task, they had played with status but not really fulfilled the brief of applying the numbers I had given them. Also it became manic, there was no focus. I had let them play it out without really giving too much other direction other than maybe to spotlight any key moments but once the spotlight had gone it descended into chaos once more with none of the performers really able to find some key moments.
Having started off the following session with Hymn Hands and Round,by,through the students had to find focus in the putting together of the string of materiel and trying to remember the actions, when we played about with them we came up with relationships and information about the characters some then put these into that cafe scene. It was an altogether different experience. Having to remember the moves gave them a deeper focus, it wasn’t just “I have got to perform and be loud or funny !”
Scott said this was a good opportunity for me but not just a case of thinking how I can use this with others but to be ‘selfish’ and find ways of developing how I can benefit from these exercises too. How I can start to direct with more detail.
The chat with Simon and Scott was really to touch base with. I think overall the two weeks highlighted insecurities with not being able to have that outside eye when actually involved in practical exercises. ‘Was I as good as everyone else seemed to be when modelling work?’ Vanity on some level, feeling that bit older and frumpier. But a real sense of insecurity none the less. I also spoke to Scott and Simon about the pressures of the academic side of the course and how also there were insecurities there also but mainly in trying to get my head around the wordiness of the books and information that I am trying to absorb. So as part of my study I am trying to build on knowledge of other practioners, already there are avenues of exploration that is an absolute must as part of the written work but also these books and their authors lead us to explore other people, authors and other practioners whose work and experiences may open up connections with what I want to do and how I want to do it. Become a better director, know how to lead an actor to a place of discovery. Anne Bogart writes that a good director needs to give the actors breathing space and room. I want to know that I can do that too.
I’ve already talked about how I was happy with my fitness and the way I had undertaken a level of attack and felt myself through the week getting fitter. Even the other day the exhilaration I got from my work out at the gym in a group training class was still there. Luckily I am familiar with the instructor and we can have a laugh but I genuinely felt that motivation and acted on it shouting ‘ Come on!’ And the odd ‘woo hoo’ I just felt the need to have that ‘ we can do this!’ vibe that we were encouraged to build in the rehearsal room. This is also part of my practise I want to instil and develop as part of my self study. Not just the team vibe but the way we get students to engage and use terminology. To get them thinking about the motivation they need in a class to be successful collaborators and to get their heads round using those phrases and key words. To see the importance of the warmup, how it highlights the way they may interact with each other. I want to get the ones who don’t or won’t engage and find how you can get them to feel this is a worthwhile investment, conditioning them, opening them up to be more considerate and responsive In their attitude to tasks and people. Creating the right environment and how I develop my practise is important I often have great ideas but then the executing of those can be bogged down in administration and lack of quality time but if the right foundations are set there is something solid to build on and expand, the course has made me realise that in the use of the devising blocks. And the ethos behind these can also be there in the classrooms. Even getting the students to see themselves as collaborators after all in its simplest form they can be an effective collaborator by listening to the ideas or instructions of others and performing the task.
So speaking to Andrea today has been helpful in highlighting a few things as Part of my self study. There have been a few things that occur to me frequently and it is good to review your own practise. One thing was to reintroduce music to my workshops. Seeing that the environments changes and it was something I had lost touch with. I perhaps need to listen to more music myself. It is often a source of great inspiration and opportunity. I went through a phase in the days of lime wire of illegally getting hold of music (shh don’t tell anyone) and in doing so discovered numerous artists I would never have listened to. I don’t listen to as much music as I would like and so this would be a great habit to get into. Perhaps cataloging artists and the style of music. I have already joined Spotify so Hopefully the app can enhance and build my digital technology awareness as well my music collection.
something else that I have been thinking about is what I will do on the advanced course. I have mentioned it in part of the conversations that have cropped up and that is the idea of writing. To ‘Wright’a play. This will certainly require me to see a bit more theatre and read more plays. Simply however just starting with some writing practise, of putting my ideas down and starting with some automatic writing perhaps. Or even blogging!!!!!
I have written plays in the past as I devised with groups and we would need scripts. Perhaps revisiting these and seeing their merit and look at ways I would improve them. I never thought of myself as a writer when creating these, but as something of a necessity when students needed to remember what had happened in rehearsals. Finding time to do this may be an issue so my thoughts also turn to organisation of time and thoughts. I need a process through which I can make clarity of all this. The way I collate my thoughts and how. Books, files, I don’t know yet this will be something that is part of my study. Only through possibly doing this will I be able to get on top of developing some key strategies. And then it’s just getting it done!