As the time draws on a pace and the another week is almost drawing to a close I have continued to change key vocabulary when practising in the class room. It is interesting as it is a simple change to begin with. Establishing the values of what the warm up achieves and getting student s to recognise the value themselves. This week the focus has shifted slightly in letting students make their attempts at creating pieces of work and putting their ideas together to how to move onto what happens between the attempt and the presentation.
We spent an exercise with Simon during the introductory course on the MA in collaborative theatre making, cogitating and discussing what order this sort of process might take. I didn’t do the same with my students but I asked them what they thought would happen between the two . It was good for them to explore their vocabulary with ‘rectify’and ‘improve’and ‘practise’. I stuck consolidate in there and let them fathom out the meaning of that. I also made a point of sticking with the word ‘presentation’. Explaining that it wasn’t a performance they were necessary putting together, but this was another opportunity to run through their ideas. The pressure wasn’t on performing, of course if they were fully committed to their ideas then a performance is something we might get but I felt it was really important to let them know this was another stage that was open to change, improvement and further developments.
using these key words and terminology seems simple and I am looking to gauge a difference in the rehearsal room in the coming weeks. At the moment it seems too early to tell?
I have to at this point share one of my little classroom analogies, occasionally I’ll find myself going along that root in class. They pop out quite unexpected and they can also be a useful tool and getting a class to visualise what it is they need to do to be making progress. My most recent one is the little green ball. I demonstrate holding the ball in my hand and saying what happens if I go bonkers and just chuck it anywhere with as much force as I can. I mimic the ball bouncing off the wall and ceiling, maybe even careening off a few heads and bodies along the way, adding a few sound effects for emphasis.
Then of course we have the little or no effort in throwing the ball so that it drops to the floor and just makes a couple of dull bounces until it comes to a standstill at your feet.
And finally where I have focus and direction, I take aim I throw the ball it can be caught and then the next person can follow. The whole enjoyment and building of skills is built on the effort that goes into the ball. The ball is not a ball it’s the the work in the room but the effort is key. The work will fall dully to the floor and stay there if there is no attempt made to generate ideas and work well together. Equally there will be no direction or focus if you come at it from all angles chucking it around the room. Maintaining focus and skill and the right amount of effort keeps that work moving around, fresh and if you do drop the ball at anytime anyone can go get that ball and bring it back in to play. Surely that’s collaboration .