Propeller blog
Propeller blog
Propeller blog
Propeller blog

A thoroughly “good” morning

This morning 13 actors, 4 directors and 2 designers arrived at Graeae’s brand new Bradbury Studios to take part in a unique week-long workshop, which will train them in Kristine’s distinctive actor-led process.  Bringing together artists from all disciplines and very different backgrounds, it was no surprise that everyone was incredibly nervous!

Kristine wasted no time in demystifying the programme and setting everyone to work and – more importantly – play.  Before long, actors, directors and designers were running around playing tag (badly) and musical chairs (brilliantly).  What was amazing to me was to hear Kristine use this vocabulary of “good” and “bad”, which is usually so stigmatised in rehearsal rooms.  Although no one likes to be told that what they are doing is “bad”, we all had to agree that the difference between forced and genuine play was plain to see, and it quickly established a clarity, trust and starting point from which everyone could act less, be themselves and learn to “play better”.

The next step was to apply the same principles in bringing improvisation.  There were some amazingly uninhibited and “true” performances as actors slowly shed affected voices and physical tics, which other training methods teach as a means towards “creating a character”, to simply bring themselves to the text.   By the time I left at lunch, we had seen genuinely “open” improvisations by Muzz and Yasmeen, a tremendous tango solo by Ruby, and an excellent Hamlet with by Peter where there was zero distinction to be made between the Shakespearean character and the British Asian performer.

All fear had vanished (and, tellingly, so had the croissants), the group had come closer together, played together, observed each other at work, and found a common, no-frills language with which to describe it.  Not bad for a morning’s work!

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