What a lovely afternoon with my youth theatre yesterday. After really good warm up I got them to start exploring the idea of ensemble more thoroughly. We had a go at the leading exercise and really ensuring the quality of the movement, reminding them to take their time. We foolowed the leader and they passed the focus quite well. They commented how certain members had their own style and when they took control they found themselves in a ‘Samism’. This could certainly have its place in building characters to a see, certainly with a Samism it made it quirky and added humour as it was typical Sam moves. I urged them however to remain neutral for the time being.
We moved on to group movement the motion exercise where all students are moving and then they stop, as if they had received infor via secret headphones at the same time that made them react simultaneously. We did this a while. I explored adding different movement. So we had a start, stop but also a point in a direction and a touch to the floor. I let members come out of the fray to watch for a while and tap someone else out once they had made observations. When we had all had a go we stopped the exercise and listened to What they noticed. Common theme was that it worked like a wave rather than it being leader less. They realised how much they had to keep their eyes on the room. A couple of the younger members who were keen to lead, moved too quick. It was interesting to see that although this was clearly an advanced skill they recognised what the aim was and why we at some point had a zone (mainly when all focused on me). Yet I was taking my lead from them. The game mentality of wanting to be the one who stopped or started was lost on some of the younger members how ever it still made for interesting observations in our movement and the potential for drama and narrative to evolve.
I led the next task and looked at them in two groups. Maintaining focus this time on 1 leader. This was one of the exercises used in the introductory weeks and it made for really interesting group dynamics, showing gang identities.
My groups geared towards something similar when they reflected on what it felt like or could lead to they went along the lines of a ‘sass off’…
Samism led to this partly, the next part of the session was really exciting they liked this movement and it’s potential. They now just needed to explore where this could come from and lead to. Where were they? Who were they? They keenly started scribbling ideas from competitors in a dance competition, rival clique gangs in school. I threw in the Shakespeare element, the Romeo and Juliet what if… so that’s about where we ended it. They improvised a confrontation between the two groups and that left us with the potential to revisit more movement to add to dialogue. Perhaps the round by through certainly lifts and falls and so the potential for drama was tangible yesterday. The promise of the groups cooperation and investigation of the work starting to embed its self in how we can explore work and begin to see what stories we want to tell.