ACTIVE METHODS RECONSIDERED
New Perspectives in Acting Practice in a Meta-Covid World
Although we are at the most contagious phase of the pandemic and skeptical about the future, we are nevertheless optimistic about the fact that we are in the last stages of the pandemic. Our thoughts are on what will open up before us and what changes it will bring about in our lives. Namely what our theatre education will look like in a metacovid world.
The word meta in Greek means more things than the usual translation as post. It means later in the near future or after something else. The meaning depends on the words that accompany the word meta. The word meta is also associated with the concept of temporality as a later that never arrives. In Greece the word is mockingly associated with stagnation in perpetuity. The danger is visible in the prospect of living in an imaginary landscape where any change means progress, or evolution, while constantly being stuck at the same point.
In theatre education we are at a critical place where we need to redefine our understanding of the art of acting, considering the new demands of the industry. In these critical times the need to come together and discuss, to experience the teamwork and contact that our art demands, is imperative. Moreover, in times of crisis, it is necessary to return to ancient knowledge, to review their evolution up to the present day and to move forward on the basis of what unites us.
What unites us is our freedom to search for every new perspective and knowledge, considering the values that concern human existence. The theatre as it was born and presented to us by ancient Greek thought is the answer to a world of contradictions and conflict.
In his article “Nietzsche’s ‘Daimonic Force’ of Tragedy and Its Ancient Traces” Stephen Halliwell quotes Nietzsche’s wonder, at how the warlike Greeks, are watching and reacting with fear and pity to this emotional praxis: Men of fundamentally warlike temper, as for example the Greeks in the time of Aeschylus, are difficult to move to emotion, and when pity does for once defeat their hardness it grips them like an ecstasy and like a ‘demonic force’ – they then feel themselves unfree and excited by a religious shudder. Afterwards they have their reservations about this state of mind; so long as they are undergoing it, they enjoy the rapture of being-outside-oneself and of the miraculous mixed together with the bitterness wormwood of suffering: that is a drink fit for warriors, something special, dangerous, and bittersweet that is not easily granted to a person. It is to souls that experience pity in this way that tragedy is addressed, to hard and warlike souls that are defeated only with difficulty, whether by fear or by pity, but for which it is useful from time to time to grow soft. …When the Athenians had become softer and more sensitive, in the time of Plato – ah, yet how far they still were from the emotional sentimentality of those who dwell in our cities, both large and small! – the philosophers already made complaints about the harmfulness of tragedy (Halliwell, Arion II.I Spring/ Summer 2003).
The theatre is concerned with a particular experience of existence whence man is notjudged but deeply understood. Its axis is the power of life not its loss of life. In Aristotle, the entelechy of existence is life not death. The stage praxis is defined as the foundation of a great active moment of full bodily consciousness of an existence that lasts beyond the stage as a psychic uplift. The stage is the place where the body is experienced, celebrated, attuned in its contact with the rhythmic energy of the bodies of the audience in a mind-lightning φρίττειν (shuddering) and understood physically and spiritually as a deep pleasure of coexistence.
If Ancient Greek thought has managed to distinguish itself in science and philosophy, it has excelled in the theatre, reversing the warlike nature of instincts by contrasting the physical and spiritual explosion of human life on the stage.
Theatre was born out of the need to protect freedom of expression and to build an inner world sensitive to human values. Now, after centuries of conflict and collisions, the theatre must make a new start for it to contribute to the development of a world that musteliminate all hatred and hostility from its words and actions. Let us hope that this metawill mark a real change towards a better way of dealing with our problems.
In the historic district of Marathon, we invite all our friends and colleagues, practitioners and academics, to an open discussion about our common future about the difficult times we are experiencing in a dramatically changing world.
In addition, our proposal includes in the training of the actor techniques such as arm wrestling, riding, archery, equestrian archery, shooting, rowing, etc. The knowledge and training of the actors in these techniques are an essential tool for their professional competence since the current needs of films and action series require multiple skills. Special training activity expands the boundaries of the actor’s kinesthetic consciousness to the main goal of the art of acting which is the transformation of the actor’s body that allows him to perform different roles.
Physical Acting differs from acting in that the focus is not on the interpretation of a role or character in a narrative, but on the materiality of the actor’s body and what can be done with it as a medium. Just as a painter paint with colour, Physical Acting paints with the body. The emphasis is not on the predetermined structure of a play, story, or other dramatic source. It relies on presence, being oneself on stage, exploring and exploiting the body’s full capacity, and working with others in space as a primary mode of investigation (Paul Allain, Actor Trainer PATAZ, Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Kent – https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/physical-actor-training)
The choice of the Municipality of Marathon, apart from the historical name due to the famous battle of Marathon and the Marathon Road, also offers the appropriate building facilities and spaces.
With these thoughts in mind, our research into the training of the actor directs itself towards a number of core questions:
• What elements make up the practice of today’s actor based on the creative coexistence of cultures and mentalities and full respect for otherness?
• What forms of dance or athletic training serves the actor best?
• In what ways are these capacities being applied to performance making and choreographic practices in live performance and film? And how might these industry requirements feedback into training practices?
• What can field such as psychology and applied kinesiology offer to actor training?
• Are we contemporaries or do we are still enduring a meta that last for centuries?
The themes this conference seeks to address include, but are not limited to:
-Stanislavsky and his legacy
-Michael Chekhov Acting method
-Yat Malmgrgeen and his legacy
-American School in Acting
-Laban Studies and Acting
-Lecoq method as a tool in Acting
-New approaches and Methods
-Acting training and coaching
-Voice training for performers on stage/screen/radio/
-Dance and movement training for actors
-Acting for dancers
-Presence on stage and on screen for actors and dancers
-Training for musicals
-Stunt Acting Training
-Kinesiology in Acting
-Historical dances training
-Dance and choreography in theatre practice and on screen
-Acting and dance in physical theatre practices
-Physical theatre and Performance Art practices
-Directing actors and dancers on stage and on screen
-Spiritual and intellectual training for the contemporary actor
-Theory and practice in acting practices
-Presence, truthfulness and somatic awareness on stage
-Actor and musical productions
-Improvisation techniques and the rehearsal process
-Acting in Education
-Actors in industry and their continuous training
-Skills and dexterities in acting
-Acting/coaching teachers and their skills.
-Mime in Acting practice
-Acting and Sports
An investigation on Kinaisthetic and Spatial intelligence under dark experience
Movement and dance as a spectacle, although it is a holistic experience for the senses, is mainly a message transmitted (sender) to be received (receiver/spectator) mainly through audiovisual stimuli (channel) (Berlo, 1960), with emphasis on the visual rather than the audio part of the performance.
Dance as a physical expression is directly related to the process of sight and hearing with vision having both the greatest weight in the executive effect of movement. It has been researched that vision as a special / perceptual sense is connected with the reading / perception of the movement, moving image and movement of an object in relation to its surrounding space, while the eye as an instrument and the vision as a sense are inextricably linked to the process of finding and maintaining balance of the human body.
The main research question that arises is:
What causes the removal / obstruction of visual stimuli, a dark condition / experience in a visually able moving body, and in particular that of the performer-dancer, and / or choreographer? Is it a valuable method/tool for improving kinaisthetic and spatial intelligence/abilities? It is a useful creation tool?
DIONYSIOS TSAFTARIDIS studied at the Music High School of Pallini. In 2001 he graduated from the State School of Dancing Art and completed postgraduate studies in “Physical Theater” at the University of Surrey and RHUL (MA, 2002). He then completed his doctoral dissertation at Roehampton University, Maya Deren’s Screendances: a Formalist Approach (PhD, 2009).
As a PhD teacher, he has collaborated with the Artistic High School of Peristeri, the Metropolitan College of Athens in collaboration with the Queen Margaret University of Scotland, and with the State School of Dancing Art.
As a choreographer and dancer he has collaborated with, among others, the National Opera of Greece, the Athens Concert Hall, the Athens Festival, Futures Theatre Company (UK). Recent collaborations with theatrical directors Reina Eskenazy (2020-2021), Nikos Kamtsis (2021-2022), the choreographer Beth Corning (2021, 2022 USA), the opera director Isidoros Sideris (2021), and the visual artist Ben Judd (2021, 2022 UK). He also creates dance films and video art with award-winning participation in the Thessaloniki Film Festival – VideoDance (Fones, 2007), with official participation in the 9th AVDP (Unhinged, 2016) and in the NEXT International Festival Gra Graham Eve project in New York (1 2 3, 2019 Arthrosis / Diamantopoulou). He has also directed and choreographed The Chairs by Eugène Ionesco (2018) and Yes, Mr. Noah by Dimitrios Lenztos and Sofia Sotiriou (2022).
He is currently in the second year of creating an exercise program for the development of kinesthesia and spatial perception of the performer through dark experience (obstructed vision) DMS-Dark Human Moving Spaces – The dark experience as a tool for Kinesthetic and Spatial Self-Awareness, Improvement and Kinetic Investigation.
The workshop will involve intensive physical ensemble work. It will begin to explore how, starting with the breath, the performer can release the body in training to start to create performance. As we return to physical contact, greater proximity and shared rhythms, how can we rebuild trust in ourselves and our colleagues as physical actors? One answer is simply to do.
Paul Allain has been Professor of Theatre and Performance since 2003 and Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK since 2016. He collaborated with the Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland from 1989 to 1993, leading to his book Gardzienice: Polish Theatre in Transition (1997). His book The Art of Stillness: The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki was published by Methuen (2002) and Palgrave Macmillan, USA (2003). Routledge published his Companion to Theatre and Performance, co-written with Jen Harvie, in early 2006 (second edition, 2014). Paul’s research has focused on actor training and Polish theatre, particularly the legacy of Jerzy Grotowski through the AHRC-funded British Grotowski Project. This culminated in an international conference and a series of publications, including Ludwik Flaszen’s Grotowski and Company (as editor) and Zbigniew Cynkutis’s Acting with Grotowski (Routledge, 2015). In 2009 he received an award for services to Polish culture from the Polish government. In 2015 he was appointed Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama for 4 years. His most recent project was for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury’s Drama Online platform, titled ‘Physical Actor Training – an online A-Z’. It contains over 50 films of training and is supported by the Open Access website The Digital Performer.
Two years of pandemics gave a lot of challenges both to theatre artists and researchers. The presentation is a reflection of what we have gained and learned from that extraordinary situation.
Combining approaches of theatre research and psychology, two scholars investigate and reflect on the experience of lockdown. The analysis has revealed that when facing pandemics and quarantine, artistic research can offer significant benefits for professional and personal growth.
Ramunė Balevičiūtė, PhD, is a theatre researcher and critic. She is the Vice-rector for Art and Research and Associate Professor of theatre studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. She is also the editor-in-chief of the main Lithuanian theatre magazine Teatro žurnalas. Besides academic articles, she has published two monographs: Henrikas Kačinskas (2006) and Rimas Tuminas: Theatre More Real Than Life. Play in Rimas Tuminas’ Theatre (2012). Together with Ramunė Marcinkevičiūtė, she edited the book in English titled Contemporary Lithuanian Theatre. Names and Performances (2019). Areas of her research include acting, artistic research, and theatre for young audiences.
Agnė Jurgaitytė-Avižinienė, PhD, is a psychologist and psychotherapist. She is Associate Professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. She is also the member of the editorial board of the journal Existentia: Psychology and Psychotherapy, published by the East European Association for Existential Therapy. Areas of her research include creativity psychology, thanatology, and clinical psychology.
This will be a lecture demonstration onChoreosophy: Movement thought and thinking.The Wisdom of the Circle. The circle is a geometric form that represents wholeness, completion, unity, eternity, absence and emptiness. A circle has an inside, an outside and a centre. It has radius, diameter and circumference. All these relationships have metaphysical and computational significances in manycultures:
Choreosophy seems to have been a complex discipline in the time of the highest Hellenic culture. Branches of the knowledge in circles came into being and were named “choreography,” “choreology” and “choreutic.” (Laban 1966: viii)
The ancient Greek root of the word choreosophy is choros, which means dancing in a circle and sophia meaning wisdom (Laban 1966). My aim is to give a brief overview of the concepts associated with these three branches of choreosophy – the wisdom of circles:
• Choreography – writing/devising circles with a performing body/ies
• Choreology – the logic and science of circles
• Choreutics – the analysis and synthesis of movement
Olu Taiwo, is a senior lecturer in Physical theatre, Acting and Movement at the University of Winchester. He has a background in Fine art, Street performance art, African percussion and various martial arts. He has performed nationally and internationally in performances and lecture demonstrations promoting concepts surrounding practice as research, including how practice explores relationships between ‘effort’, and ‘performative actions’. He recently had a retrospective of his work in 2020 as part of Wiltshire creatives ‘Artist of the week’ series. [Read More]
He investigates performatively, how as ‘individuals’ we interface with the increasing digital complexity with regards to our experience in twenty-first century, through his technique that he has been developing called ‘Urban Butoh’; which, he developed as part of his performative involvement in Johannes Birringer’s Dap-lab project, Ukiyo. He is Director of Transcultural studied at the institute ‘the Making of the Actor’ based in Athens. His publications range from, The Return Beat in Wood (Ed.): The Virtual Embodied. Routledge (1998). Music, Art and Movement among the Yoruba: in Harvey (Ed.): Indigenous Religions Cassell (2000), Art as Eudaimonia: Embodied identities and the Return beat in Susan Broadhurst and Josephine Machon (ed.), Identity, performance and technology: practices of empowerment, embodiment and technicity. Palgrave Macmillan (2012), The Return Beat – Interfacing with Our Interface, A Spiritual Approach to the Golden Triangle: Peter Lang (2021)
Considering Laban’s legacy in actor training, I will focus on exercises and approaches from significant Laban Guild individuals, sharing practical knowledge taught to me by Laban’s practitioners and that I have used in creating dramatic choreography for professional theatre performance.
The workshop will explore the idea of the “stayr play” from ancient Greek drama, which was performed alongside the Greek tragedies and comedies. This was a form of physical theatre, based on dance / pantomime / clowning and mime, with poetic text. This genre is similar to the dance-drama plays suggested by Rudolf Laban in Mastery of Movement for the Stage. Creating such dance-dramas as actor training allows different fragmentary approaches to the art of movement to be combined into one coherent whole in performance.
Only a few fragments of text from these stayr plays are extant, and this workshop will use a section from Sophocles THE TRACKERS (Translated into English and completed by Professor Yangos Andreadis, with cooperation of Andrew Opaul Garvin, following workshops led by Darren Royston at the University of Athens in 2010, published in 2018).
The workshop will use technqiues used by Laban’s practitioners in drama training to show how different elements of the staging can combine to create a dynamic and dramatic whole.
The individual sections link to individuals who were trained by Rudolf Laban, and are presented as follows:
1. Geraldine Stephenson: creating an historical style, the ancient greek rhythms in space.
2. Jean Newlove: creating scales in the dynamosphere, to show character.
3. Gordon Curl: the Platonic modes in motion, considering the transformation of the satyrs aligned with elemental forces.
4. Walli Meier: Psychological types in Effort, and identifying changes in emotional states through movement as the narrative develops.
5. Warren Lamb: Looking at the affinities between Shape/Effort interactions, and shaping the character in the scene, as the characters react to the narrative.
6. Marion North: assessing dramatic personalities with in depth analysis, including shadow movements to reveal the hidden subtext and layers of meaning in the performance of movement.
To connect to the theme of the conference the workshop, I have considered the academic proposal of Paul Allain, Actor Trainer PATAZ, Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Kent. Cited in the call for papers:
Physical Acting differs from acting in that the focus is not on the interpretation of
a role or character in a narrative, but on the materiality of the actor’s body …The emphasis is not on the predetermined structure of a play, story, or other dramatic source. It relies on presence, being oneself on stage, exploring and exploiting the body’s full capacity, and working with others in space as a primary mode of investigation
The satyr play material will be explored using the 6 methods of the 6 Laban practitioners, to create one wholistic scene with transformation into different movement performance styles as it moves betweemn different strophes:
Strophe #1 (Page 62): the changes in ethos of the satyrs (agression and animalistic qualities)
Strophe #2 (Page 63): the dramatization of the reverisble sadist/masochist relation between the father Silenus and his children, the Satyrs
Strophe #3 (Page 63): a dionysiac ecstatic dance
Strophe 4 (Page 63-65): The arrival of Cyllene, the nymph nursing Hermes
Darren Royston, is an international choreographer and movement director working in theatre, opera, film and TV. He was a child actor in musical theatre and with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, before studying Drama & Literature from Medieval to Modernism at Cambridge University, which introduced him to Rudolf Laban’s Mastery of Movement on the Stage. He graduated with MA (Distinction) in Dance Studies from Laban Centre for Movement & Dance (now Trinity Laban), studying choreological studies with Marion North, Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Ana Sanchez-Colberg& Jeffrey Longstaff, producing a dissertation entitled The Dancer in Opera Performance. Darren was mentored by Laban practitioners Geraldine Stephenson, Jean Newlove, Walli Meier, Gordon Curl, Ann Hutchinson-Guest, and received a Motus Humanus scholarship to study with Warren Lamb in the USA. Working for several years as a freelance choreographer / movement director on productions at National Theatre of Great Britain, Old Vic, English Touring Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and several opera companies: his recent production for Garsington Opera received 5-star reviews praising the use of movement by the opera chorus and the integration of circus and dance into the production of The Bartered Bride. Teaching actors in many drama schools in the UK, Darren was an Associate Tutor at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for two decades. He recently returned to acting Shakespeare roles himself, including playing Polonius in Hamlet (Adaptivity Theatre, Tasmania) and in The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (La Sorbonne, Paris) with Scena Mundi theatre company, with whom he is Director of Movement & Dance.
Having developed a way of teaching the principles of Laban’s work for movement for actors over two decades, I was commissioned to write the textbook Dramatic Dance, An Actor’s Approach to Dance as a Dramatic Art for RADA, published by Methuen Drama/Bloomsbury. This presents a syncretic way of learning dance for the actor, using Laban Movement Analysis alongside “Expressive Dance”, “Historical Dance”, and considering the meanings communicated to the audience as “Show Dance.” As a performer, I use Laban-based exercises as part of the creation of character and physical interaction in the ensemble. As a choreographer in theatre, opera, TV and film my training has been vital in creating dances within a dramatic context and choreographing the chorus in opera. As a teacher, I have incorporated an exploration of Laban’s principles and systematic approach to movement study into many different courses at drama schools to teach young actors, from short workshops to longer programmes such as RADA Foundation for Acting, MA Text and Performance, and Drama on the Dance Floor. Geraldine Stephenson and Jean Newlove were both involved in Masterclasses at RADA, and I shared my experiences at Laban Guild workshops and summer courses at the University of Bedfordshire with adults and movement choirs. I developed ways to use Laban’s approach to movement to train opera singers and musical theatre performers, with positions as Visiting Professor at the Music Department of Mahidol University in Bangkok, and Guest Tutor for the University Pablo Olavide in Seville. As a researcher of historical dances with Nonsuch History & Dance and UNESCO, my Laban training has enabled me to offer a practice-based understanding of how different historical sources can be interpreted by the dancer, considering how choreutic elements such as musical rhythms, choreographic patterns and architectural structures, may have affinities to eukinetic dynamics created in performance. I am currently writing on this subject for the forthcoming facsimile of the Basse Danse for the Brussels Royal Library.
This paper presents an exploration of Laban’s philosophy of body-space theory and how it can be applied to architectural design practices. Laban is widely acknowledged in design practice and known for his ‘kinetography’ or dance notation system. In the context of this conference the project seeks to set out key questions and initial ideas on how to interpret Laban’s effort and choreutic methods as somatic approaches for architecture. The presentation is part of an initial PhD investigation of choreography and architecture as creative practice, with a methodology that is based on the principles of Laban’s work. Laban’s body-centric approach is deeply and intimately linked to hybrid movement with architectonic expressions. Is there potential to develop his integrated approach as a somatic practice for architects? How can we align new ideas around his own design practice as well as his movement methods and systems?
Vicky Spanovangelis is a London-Athens based architect, choreographer, dancer, (Bartlett UCL, RCA, Trinity Laban London). Vicky has exhibited internationally, and directed design projects, artistic research collaborations and performances in the UK and abroad, in Greece, France, Germany, USA. Vicky teaches and lectures in higher education on multi-media performance, dance on screen and site-specific environments. Currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Winchester UK, Vicky’s doctoral research focuses on choreography & architecture as creative practice. Areas of research interest includes architecture & choreography as interdisciplinary practice, cultural heritage practices of dance-ancestry, auto-ethnographic performance with contemporary-folk-dance fusion, screen media & interactive technology for performance space, kinaesthetic approaches to space for dancer-actor training. www.nomadsurban.co
In ‘The Mastery of Movement on the Stage’ in 1950, Laban actually writes a book about the actor’s training in a very practical way in both kinaesthesia and characterization, namely he introduced for the first time a complete acting technique that this research seeks to turn into a methodology, using the philosophical foundation on Aristotle.
Aristotle although speaking about a narrative way, sets the general rules for the theatre text and practice. Not to be forgotten, that Aristotle was the father of scientific theory and as such he understands that through the process and evolution there are a vast of information in a time that is opening in a high speed. Defining time as a diastolic now, realizes that the opening of time will be increase the number of information and seeks to find a solution for the gathering of information. What he needed in order to secure knowledge is the creation of rules and classification ( a kind of taxonomy in memory, like a computer memory,) in order for the human being to be able to memorize and to collect information both in mind and body. In other words, the constructive capacity of demiourgos (artist / craftsman). If Laban’s philosophical background is based on Aristotle’s Philosophy then the roots of the art of movement is science. This lecture will discuss the common ground between Aristotle and Laban in a new exegesis of the origins of the art of acting and will present the Laban’s Acting Technique.
Dr. Kiki Selioni is a movement teacher and acting coach in various Drama Schools and Institutions internationally. She has completed her studies in Dance Theatre at the Laban in London (BA and MA, City University. She holds a doctorate in Movement Training for Actors and in Acting (RCSSD). She is currently Affiliate Research Fellow at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in a post-doc research project (The British Acting School: Saturday 26th February 2022 Biophysical Acting) regarding a complete acting method based on Laban’s work and Aristotle’s theory. Kiki is Founder and Artistic Director of The Makings of the Actor. She is the author of the book- Laban-Aristotle: Zώον (Zoon) in Theatre Πράξις (Praxis); Towards a methodology for movement training for the actor and in acting.
The aim of the workshop is to introduce the participants in creative teaching-training of dance, through Laban principles. Τhe laboratory utilizes contemporary theories on dance improvisation for an experiential investigation of movement via Chorological methodologies, an approach which reveals the individual human expression. Specifically, participants will understand the importance of kinesthesia, the body and its actions, dynamics, harmonic principles, and relationships through structured improvisations, guided by the instructor. The workshop will conclude in choreographic sketches of duos which integrates body, breath, speech, and music.
Katia Savrami, Choreologist, choreographer, movement, and performance analyst holds an MA and PhD from the Laban Centre, City University London. She is Associate Professor and Director of “Theatre Laboratory of Drama and Speech” at the Department of Theatre Studies, University of Patras, School of Humanities and Social Studies. She was Visiting Scholar at the Department of Classics, Columbia University, NYC, 2021. She is an editor and author of series of books and articles in Greek and English. Katia is a member in the International Editorial Board of Research in Dance Education Journal, published by Taylor and Francis Group UK and editor- in chief of Choros International Dance Journal, www.chorosjournal.com publishing by the support of Onassis Foundation.
The social world has changed. Accepted societal boundaries have shifted, particularly in liberal democracies, throwing our established normalities into chaos. Power now freely slips between teacher and student, unstable in the virtual, and undefined in the real. Consent is associated with unwanted sexual contact and not clearly defined for everyday life as we navigate ‘the new normal’. Touch, an innate human need, has become connected with danger or death following the pandemic, creating an inner conflict, and constricting physical expression of emotion. These challenges are universal in a metacovid world, but perhaps more prominent in the performance industry.
Power Dynamics, Consent and Touch play a role within actor training and the development of the contemporary actor. Through research I realised these are three fundamental bedrocks within actor training. Addressing The Three Foundations of Trust pedagogically through open communication with students, actor training can cultivate conscientious, confident young actors. The principles of actor training may remain the same, but it is our responsibility to adapt historical practices for the students of the future. Within my own experience, starting conversations within the classroom ignites awareness for students to engage with and then negotiate in their own training, ultimately leading to autonomy.
Lauren S Williams, PGCE PCET, BA, is an experienced teacher in Drama and Theatre Studies A level and an Acting Coach for 16-18 year olds. Throughout her career, Lauren has maintained an individualistic approach to her teaching, valuing each student. This is at the core of her pedagogy. She is currently studying MA Actor Training and Coaching at The Royal Central School for Speech and Drama. Her current field of research concerns power dynamics and consent in actor training. She has created and delivered a workshop with BA Acting students to begin exploring this research in the rehearsal room and encouraging autonomy.
Participants will choose between three possibilities at the time of the workshop.
The three choices include:
1) Roundtable discussion– The Acting Studio as a Crucible for Social Change. In recent years the American acting studio has been impacted by social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter forcing major changes in the plays we study and the methodologies shared with students. Concurrently the ever-shifting exploration of gender has heavily influenced casting and the rules for scene study. All of these changes while American students deal with an epidemic of anxiety and depression multiplied by a pandemic. Are these realities merely American issues? How have these social changes impacted your classroom or study? What is the legacy of the acting studio in 2022 and what are the changes we see coming and how has that impacted the plays we study or the works we may no longer produce?
2) Creating Your Multiverse– A Psychophysical Approach to the creation of Super Heroic Acting Choices– From Greek Gods to Marvel Superheroes how can an actor create larger than life characters with superhuman strength while retaining a believable psychological core. This workshop forces the actor to create dramaturgically cohesive origin stories that create an embodied performance of original superheroes.
3) Expanding Your Choices as Actor– Through a series of exercises, actors will be asked to focus fully on expanding their range of choices making the actor more versatile and marketable. The workshop offers practical tools for character creation that allow an actor to play characters that are polar opposites with compassion, conviction, and confidence.
Rob is an award-winning actor, author, director, educator, and playwright. He is a Professor at Michigan State University where he serves as the Head of Acting & Directing in the Department of Theatre. His publications include books– Roadblocks in Acting, Inner Monologue in Acting, The Introverted Actor: Practical Approaches and Collaboration in Theatre: A Practical Guide for Designers and Directors; plays– Arts or Crafts, Comfort Food, The Tail of Peter Rabbit, The Summer Circle, The Amazing America Road Trip; and articles/chapters mostly about the intersection of acting & psychology.
He worked as the National Outreach and Education Coordinator for Actors’ Equity Association and has appeared extensively through the United States as an actor and director in New York and Los Angeles and regionally at Goodspeed Musicals, Long Wharf Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. He was part of the original cast of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and can be heard on the show’s recording. He has directed internationally in Colombia, Dubai, and Greece where he was a Fulbright Fellow.
Rob served on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, SUNY/ Stony Brook, and Stephens College where he received the “Distinguished Teaching Award.” At MSU he was awarded the “Mid-Michigan Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching”, “Michigan Professor of the Year Award” from the President’s Council State Universities of Michigan,” “The President’s Distinguished Teaching Award” and he is a William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty recipient. He also coordinates the MFA program in acting.
Art is an expression of, and provides a shortcut or direct line to, the experience of what it is to be embodied, to our experience of being.
As a rope artist of 16 years, my research interest is in exploring the lived and living body of the artist, and how praxis offers an access to the art of being.
At a time when the pandemic has served as a wakeup call to our own bodies,
in this presentation (paper) I offer an overview of current embodiment discourse.
The embodiment discourse in recent decades has re-centred the body as the nexus of our knowledge of being-in-the-world. Nonetheless, academia struggles to pin down embodiment, and the ‘fluid, indeterminate, uncontrollable nature of the body’. (Ref)
I suggest however that the body is not elusive or uncontrollable to a skilled physical practitioner. To she/he who has spent many hours, years, consciously listening to and working with the body as a multi-aspectual phenomenon, the body occurs as a complex coherent whole, able to be understood on many layers at once. Seemingly dissonant registers, ‘having’ and ‘being’ a body, and its relation to biology and society, are fully reconcilable.
Praxis, by its nature, enables such an understanding: it is a place where the positions, of having and being a body, of being concurrently in relation to oneself, to physiology and society, are all-at-once possible.
Given the acknowledged centrality of embodiment to knowledge, and the impossibility of establishing a singular, unifying, objective perspective of embodiment, it feels wise to encourage praxis and to gather perspectives of embodied practitioners articulated from the vantage point of their singular truths.
Aristotle is attributed with saying ‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’; ‘Know thyself’ being the first of three maxims inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
Given the crises in disembodiment, fragmentation, ecology, uprooting of populations and seismic collective challenges we face, this maxim, and the sovereignty of the subjective, feel timely and important. In a world dominated by paradigms of artificial intelligence and textuality, it feels important to re-embody and examine the self, the zero-points from which our collective world arises.
It is acknowledged that the theoretical implications of this re-centring of the body in intellectual discourse are ‘enormous’. (Ref) This begs the question, what might be the critical and pragmatic implications for world civilization of placing self-knowledge of our individual bodies/embodiment through praxis, at the centre, as the starting point for our interacting, communications and mutual understanding?
Athletics were part of the heartbeat of the classical Greek world, viewed as a fundamental part of education, albeit a male heartbeat and scholarship.
Its metaphor widely penetrated Greek society; refined classical poetry included obscure allusions to athletics that were considered fully accessible to the reader.
I wish to complement the rich array of physical actor training techniques already offered in this conference with another; that of basic rope acrobatic training.
I believe such training is relevant in particular to the practice of Physical acting.
As Paul Allain describes and Kiki Selioni reminds us, in Physical Acting the focus is on the materiality of the actor’s body and what can be done with it as a medium. Just as a painter paint with colour, physical acting paints with the body. It relies on presence, being oneself on stage, exploring and exploiting the body’s full capacity, and working with others in space as a primary mode of investigation. (Paul Allain, Actor Trainer PATAZ, Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Kent)
All this can be said too of rope acrobatics
Time required: 1 hour.
§ warm up
§ climbing techniques: two styles
§ basic moves: hip lock, catches, loop
§ how to think about the body’s musculature in relation to the rope
§ warm down
In 1865, England’s first purpose-built gymnasium was built, funded by London’s German community for the German Gymnastics Society. The Society was ground-breaking in being one of the first clubs to hold classes for women. In 1866 the building hosted London’s first indoor Olympic Games.
Before its renovation for the St Pancras train station in 2005, the German Gymnasium was the setting for a performance marking the 80th birthday of John Berger of his piece Vanishing Points, which looks at the role that railways and stations have played in our personal and national history.
The building retained the original hooks that suspended ropes and gymnastic equipment from the beams used in the training of London’s first Olympians. I was lucky enough to perform suspended from one such hook in John Berger’s production, unwinding on a rope from the ‘sky’ to meet him below.
Gisele Edwards, PhD Candidate at UCL (University College London)
The Laban-Malmgren System of Movement Psychology and Character Analysis isan influential actor training methodology which has helped to shape the thinking and work of some of the most expressive actors of our time, including Anthony Hopkins, Colin Firth, Emilia Clarke and Tom Hardy.
The System is an original synthesis of Rudolf Laban’s late-career ideas on movement, Jungian typology and Stanislavskian physical action, brought together by the dancer and acting teacher Yat Malmgren (1916-2002). The System continues to be taught in conservatoires and University drama departments across the world.
The workshop will provide an overview of the theoretical basis and the practice of the System as well as the challenges cognitive science poses to some of its core assumptions. It will also demonstrate how Character Analysis works – that is, how the System can be applied to understanding well-known characters from classical drama and how character transformations may be achieved.
Vladimir Mirodan, PhD, FRSA is Emeritus Professor of Theatre, University of the Arts London. Trained on the Directors Course at Drama Centre London, he has directed over 50 productions in the UK as well as internationally and has taught and directed in most leading drama schools in the UK. He was Vice-Principal and Director of Drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Principal of Drama Centre London and Director of Development and Research Leader, Drama and Performance, Central Saint Martins. He is a former Chairman of the Conference of Drama Schools, a Deputy Chair of the National Council for Drama Training and Chair of the Directors Charitable Foundation. He is currently the Chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain Trust.
Professor Mirodan’s research interests revolve around issues of acting psychology, in particular as this relates to the neuropsychology of gesture and posture. The Actor and the Character, his book on the psychology of transformation in acting, was published by Routledge in November 2018. Together with neuroscientists from University College London, Professor Mirodan is engaged in a research project on emotional contagion funded by the Leverhulme Foundation. Professor Mirodan is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Stanislavski Studies and Review Editor of the journal Frontiers in Performance Science.
Tim Robins, is a Director and teacher of Acting/Movement in the Laban-Malmgren System and Stanislavsky traditions. A graduate of both NIDA and the Drama Centre London, he was granted a full scholarship and Australian Arts Council grant to spent a post graduate year at Drama Centre as an assistant teacher to Yat Malmgren before returning to his native Australia, where he taught and directed at various schools and companies including NIDA, Nimrod Theatre, the Mcdonald College (Head of Drama) and the Drama Studio Sydney, which he founded. He has directed productions and taught the Laban-Malmgren System at the Drama Centre London for 10 years. His students from both Australia and the UK have been recognised by many, including winning Academy Awards, BAFTAs, AFI Awards and nominations.
The actors’ search for tangible means to access intangible states and qualities such as presence, energy, emotion, and inner life can be traced back to the ancient Greek actor Polus who, desperate to perform Electra’s lament, filled the urn with his own son’s ashes. Since this highly controversial use of a personal object on stage to activate the actor’s inner life, a plethora of acting techniques has been developed to help actors safely and consistently access intangible states through concrete means. The search has been more clearly articulated since the “revolution of the invisible” (Barba, 2002, 99), as Eugenio Barba puts it, took place in the early 20th century and ignited an appetite to better understand “hidden structures” (ibid) that stretched beyond science. Amongst the most well-known attempts to better understand and control such hidden structures within actor training is Stanislavski’s lifelong search to awaken the subconscious through conscious means (Carnicke, 2009, 160).
Tadashi Suzuki refers to presence as the actor’s ability to “[engulf] the spectator in his overwhelmingly dynamic stage image’’ (Suzuki in Brandon, 1978, 40). As Phillip Zarrilli points out “a good actor must ‘radiate presence’ (faqi), while a poor performer would have no presence (meiyou qi)” (Zarrilli, 2002, 85). This heightened level of energy that makes a performer’s presence captivating is easily recognisable despite its impalpable nature, but is this quality simply up to the individual actor’s charisma or can it be trained and developed? Can this intangible quality be activated using tangible means? Building on Evangelatou’s doctoral research which explored ways to access acted emotion using tangible points of access such as breath and musicality, this teaching demonstration will explore ways to enhance the actor’s stage presence focusing on three concrete entry points: the gaze, the spine, and the performer’s centre of gravity. The demonstration draws on Evangelatou’s own teaching practice as well as the work of Eugenio Barba, Roberta Carreri, Michael Chekhov, and Jacques Lecoq.
Barba, Eugenio. “An Amulet Made of Memory: The Significance of Exercises in the Actor’s Dramaturgy.” In Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, edited by Phillip B. Zarrilli, 2nd ed., 99–105. London; New York: Routledge, 2002.
Brandon, James R. “Training at the Waseda Little Theatre: The Suzuki Method.” The Drama Review 22, no. 4 (1978): 29–42.
Carnicke, Sharon Marie. Stanislavsky in Focus: An Acting Master for the Twenty-First Century. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2009 .
Zarrilli, Phillip B. “Introduction.” In Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, edited by Phillip B. Zarrilli, 2nd ed., 85–98. London; New York: Routledge, 2002.
Holford-Strevens, Leofranc. “Polus and His Urn: A Case Study in the Theory of Acting, c. 300 B.C. – c. A.D. 2000.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 11, no. 4 (2005): 499–523.
Dr Aphrodite Evangelatou is an actor, actor trainer and theatre practitioner-researcher. She trained as an actor at Drama Centre London and completed her PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is a Module/Year Coordinator on the BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts degree programme at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Her teaching practice focuses on acting and devising while her research interests include physical theatre, acting pedagogy, and the psychophysical.
This presentation aims to demonstrate the mindbody approach to actor training, coined Contemporary Method Acting, which l practice at CISPA. I’m influenced by various methodological approaches, but the main component is The System of Character Analysis and Movement Psychology, which is developed by my mentor, Yat Malmgren, in collaboration with Rudolf Laban and William Carpenter.
In terms of text work, my investigations revolve around the embodying and expressing of the sensorial, cogitative, intuitive and emotional properties of language, and furthermore in this process the tapping into an unconscious resonance, which I believe is best defined by Rudolf Laban:
‘There is an energy behind all occurrences and material things for which it is almost impossible to find a name. A hidden, forgotten landscape lies there, the land of silence, the realm of the soul, and in the centre of this land stands the swinging temple… in which all sorrows and joys, all sufferings and joys, all struggles and deliverances meet and move together.’ (Laban, 1935, p.89)
To me, Laban’s universal soul signifies an immanent flow, which vibrates and resonates through us all, uniting us, and from which the performers must create (move, dance, voice, do) in a constant transforming and fixing of their mind-bodies.
Lars Henning (DK) trained as an actor at Drama Centre London (Central St. Martin’s College of Art/University of the Arts London) under the mentorship of especially Yat Malmgren.
He performed in numerous productions nationally and internationally, before starting his directing and teaching career in 2000. Since then, he’s taught and directed around 50 theatre productions in Denmark, England, Scotland, Canada, Egypt, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Currently, Lars Henning is Artistic Director at CISPA, Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts. He teaches Acting Technique, Character Analysis &Movement Psychology, Rhetoric and Applied Theatre History for all three years, and is responsible for planning, development and implementation of training content.
This 100 minute teaching demonstration will introduce students to the Psychology of Movement Created by Yat Malmgren & developed by Tom Bentley-Fisher. This training from the Yat-Bentley Centre for Performance (YBC) is grounded in the lineage of Rudolf Laban, Carl Jung, and ultimately Yat Malmgren, whose resulting body of work Movement Psychology/Character Analysis affords the actor an in-depth study of the relationship between the inner and the outer life.
Employing the tenets of Movement Psychology, this class will guide each student through a detailed, demanding and fun training that interrogates the four foundational pillars of personality and character: the sensing center, the intellectual center, the emotional center, and the center of intuiting (time).
My goal is always to meet each student exactly where they are, right now, regardless of training or experience This allows for rapid growth and shifts, both personally and artistically, in any student willing to commit and take the risk. In the work, the performer can transform so as to become unrecognizable.
Students have the visceral experience of becoming and feeling free in unexpected ways, accessing parts of themselves with which they usually don’t have contact. The body, not the mind, makes key discoveries to free the artist up quickly, reliably, and deeply. Through swinging warm-ups, improvisations, text and potentially written scenarios, our work delivers ground-shifting discoveries and a capacity for inner character transformation not taught by many American techniques.
This class will give students a “’tool kit’ of exercises and approaches that create a path towards Character Transformation. These tools encourage performances that are both truthful and daring. We will always be working towards dropping the disguises, trusting what is true, and learning how to come from a place of generosity and commitment.
This work starts in the body and yields unexpected discoveries about the self. Yat Malmgren was a trail blazing teacher and founder of the Drama Centre, London, who built upon the work of Carl Jung and Rudolf Laban. Using the principles of Movement Psychology Tom Bentley-Fisher continues to develop his training with Malmgren until what it is today decades later. Curious artists of all stripes are encouraged to participate: beginning performers, advanced artists, working actors, and others looking to access the deeper parts of themselves which are most challenging to access.
This class will include:
• The Swings – physical exercises that bring awareness and develop the inner and outer lives of
the performer. Through the swings we also introduce the Seven Spheres and Pathways that
awaken experiences of sensing, thinking, time and emotion.
• Short improvisational situations solo and in duets to experience what is being taught
• Accessing the four foundational pillars of personality and character
• How character and psychology are revealed through movement
• Using music to motivate the inner life of the work.
• The process of creating from a place of known truth in order to expand into unknown truths
• Applying this work to various creative pursuits, from writing to acting to dancing to directing
More Detailed Description
The first part of each class is dedicated to group exercises, which involves learning a series of physical swings. This is more than a warm-up. We incorporate these exercises to discover our personal resistances and slowly work through them. During this part of the class we also explore our body and voice, our imaginations, senses, concentration, openness, intuitions, our ability to make contact, and our intellect – only some of the tools an actor needs to develop in order to become an artist rather than a personality.
This work addresses character development through locating and revealing parts of ourselves that can take us to true transformation in the role and our relationships on stage. It employs a technique that challenges us to use everything at our disposal, rather than rely on the ‘tried and true.’ It assumes that we are capable of seeing the world through new eyes and that we welcome the opportunity to be surprised, trusting and opening to our collective unconscious.
The technique combines very technical and internal approaches to the work, and makes the assumption that they can go hand in hand in order to create the best performances. This class will touch briefly on students discovering and examining the physical qualities of SENSING, THOUGHT, TIME and EMOTION in their relation to movement. They learn how to create characters that can take them towards performances that transform them beyond recognition but are also steeped in something that is very true.
The assumption here is that our inner and outer realities are different, and it is the relationship and movement between these two different realities that create the most riveting performances.
Themes of the Class:
1. Inner life and outer life. The difference and interplay between them both.
2. The movement qualities of Sensing, Thought, Time and Emotion experiencing both contending and yielding qualities.
3. Acting as an active/doing process. Solving the problem. Playing the objective. Going through the process rather than indicating the process.
4. Discovering the Shadow Move; living within the accident.
5. Action and Release in Performance.
6. Transmitting and receiving energy between partners.
7. Acting as an active process – solving the problem – moving towards the objective.
8. Going through the process rather than ‘indicating’ the process.
9. Examining the moment-by-moment truth in performance.
10. Discovering our ‘shadow moves’ – our personal ticks.
11. Freeing the inner and outer movement.
12. Discovering the knots that bind us.
13. The actor as the detective.
14. Learning how to listen.
The key to the philosophy of this work is the assumption that everything is movement. Thought is movement – emotion, our intuitions and sensuality are movement – the energy between our self and our partner is movement. Movement is the energy between the impulse and the action – our inner and outer lives. Voice, gesture, decision making, memory – all is movement. The actor develops the openness and tools that allow the purity of movement to be revealed through the most honest means possible, and much of the actors’ development is finding the ways to untie the knots that impede that movement.
Through examining our inner resources of sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling, and experiencing them in all their combinations, we can begin to comprehend and express the world in ways we never thought possible. We can truly transform in performance and not simply rely on outer technique. We can be truthful and daring.
Heidi Carlsen Arts Educator, Actor Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner Affiliated Institutions: Yat Bentley Centre for Performance / and / San Francisco State University
Acting refers to the artistic performance in which body expression through movement and voice undulation shaping a role of a character in plays, film or television. Essential prerequisite for a successful materialization of the role would be the ability of the actor to possess a repertoire of movements and bodily skills which are common in human activities. This presentation will discuss the items of these movements and skills comprising a collection and provide means of their tuning and development. In addition, information would be further delivered on the factors of somatotype and physical fitness which set the frame of human movement.
Geladas Nickos has earned his post graduate degrees from School of Kinesiology, at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He has been a professor and currently serves as Dean, at School of Physical Education and Sport Science in National and Capodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He is specialized on sport performance 14 and talent identification and development. He is also interested on the preventive and therapeutic effect of exercise on chronic and degenerative diseases. He has collaborated with numerous students and granted, so far, five PhD degrees. His published work culminates in over 50 research articles in English language which have taken attention by over 2300 references.
The main objective of this conference is to encourage its participants, i.e. the speakers and the audience, as well as any person or collectivity, institution or organization involved in theater education and theater making to move forward with new ideas and subjects for research. The aim is to explore new perspectives of knowledge and promote them as ashared prospective for regenerating theater teaching and theater making. To this end, online and live embodied activitieswith similar objectives to that of the Challenges of the mindconference may be planned for the future so as to prepare the ground for achieving and disseminating a new kind of art knowledge.
I will argue that the new knowledge on which theater training and theater making may rely for reconstituting the theatrical habitus revolves round Self-awareness and gives primacy to consciousness rather than cognition. The methodological scope of such a reflexive knowledge is not informative, but performative, thus employing performed as well as performing aspects of manifest consciousness (Kavouras 2006a). The new knowledge contains and, eventually, has the capacity of using for its own purposes the habitual digital or analog modalities of the contemporary technological culture. As a self-conscious framework of mentality, it resists the tendency attributed to ego-consciousness that reduces the integrative potentiality of consciousness to any of its digital or analog reflexive partialities. Thus, local as well as global, face-to-face learning methodologies of a digital or non-digital kind could be brought together in the multi-faceted context of this new knowledge in the form of a hybrid reflexivity, which connects art to humanity through a heterogeneous mixing of culture, technology and education. The rapprochement of self-realized knowledge with the culture of technology may thus pave the way for the expression of a new kind of creativity, which is based on a shared and actually lived condition of self-reflexive hybridity. By juxtaposing self-reflexive hybrid methodologies and epistemologies blending the diverse aspects of the habitual consciousness of technoculture with the emergent reality of the inner awareness of humanity, the hybrid discourse of art, science, philosophy and education may be used as an organizing principle for expressing and communicating the new knowledge through such habitual activities as conferences, seminars, master-classes and workshops. Thi sis a project that may contribute significantly to theater learning and theater making in diverse registers of reference by helping to create a heterogeneous stage for blending differentiative instances of performative otherness at the decisive presence of an integrative catalyst. The overall scope of establishing such a self-awareness network of hybrid reflexivity is to help promote a creative modality of realized experience, expression and communication. This new knowledge of humanity transcends any cultural-historical reshuffling of differentiative consciousness due to technological transformation through blending, for instance, orality with writing, hand-writing with typography, unmediated hearing and seeing with audiovisual technology, thus reconstituting the established unstable balance between habitual consciousness and modern technoculture.
Pavlos Kavouras is professor of the Faculty of Music Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). His scientific work blends anthropology and sociology, musicology, history, philosophy and cultural studies. He was Founder and Director (2007-2022) of the Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory of the NKUA. He has participated as principal or collaborating partner in many international projects related to lecturing, teaching and ethnographic research, as well as numerous other institutional synergies in art and education management. Since 2016, he has been visiting professor at UCLA, Department of Ethnomusicology, and in 2015, he, as Onassis Foundation Greek Scholars Fellow, gave a series of invited lectures in the United States of America, at the universities of California (UCLA), Stanford, Illinois, Michigan and Harvard. Since 2012, his academic, artistic and philosophical interests are focused on migration and otherness in a broad geo-cultural perspective employing music and film as venues for understanding otherness and as vehicles for attaining Self-awareness. In 2019 he was appointed by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent Greece in the Ancient Civilizations Academic Forum in La Paz Bolivia. Since 2020, he is a founding member of the NKUA Center for Excellence dealing with “Inter-religious Dialogue.” He has done extensive ethnographic research in Greece, the USA, Southwest India and Egypt.He has published numerous books and articles in English and in Greek, and is the General Editor of the Ethnomusicology and Anthropology scholarly series for Nissos Publications.
He has taught various academic courses both at undergraduate and graduate levels such as Introduction to Ethnomusicology, Anthropology of Music, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnographic Film, Music and the Divine, Seminar: Music Ethnographies, Seminar: Music Biographies, Seminar: Discourse Analysis, Questions of Methodology, Music and the Other Arts. His publications include Ghlendi and xenitia: the poetics of exile in rural Greece, Trickster and Cain: a musical allegory, Folklore and tradition: issues of re-presentation and performance of music and dance, “Ethnographies of dialogical singing, dialogical ethnography,” and “Allegories of nostalgia: music, tradition and modernity in the Mediterranean area”. His recent research projects include “Performigrations: People Are the Territory” (European Union – Canada Programme for Cooperation in Higher Education and Vocational Training, 2014-2016). “ARISTEIA II, Western Art Music at the Time of Crisis: An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary Greek Culture and European Integration” (WestArtMus 2014-2015), “Video Life Stories of Immigrants” (Hellenic Ministryof the Interior 2012-2013).
This paper is based on my postgraduate dissertation with the title: “Creating and documenting a method to approach the performer’s voice. From lullaby to lament”. The purpose of my postgraduate dissertation is the research, focused on the embodied voice.
The subtitle “From lullaby to lament”, suggests the connection of the voice to the cycle of life, from birth to death. Both lullabies and laments are used in the practical part of my postgraduate dissertation as a mean to connect with bodily memory, while releasing the voice, and discovering the body’s sound sources.
The process of voice training has a lot to do with regaining the natural function of the breath with which we were born but lost as adults. Every person has a voice capable of expressing feelings, thoughts and experiences. During our lifetime we may acquire various physical-psychological tensions, defenses, inhibitions and negative environmental influences, which often reduce the effectiveness of our natural voice.
The basic hypothesis is that the actor’s voice on stage cannot be different from that of his daily life. The key lies in activating the proper functioning of the breath, through specific physical exercises.
Katerina Papageorgiou is an actress and a teacher. She holds a Master Degree in “Theatre and Society: Theory, Stage Practice and Didactics”, of the Department of Theatre Studies, University of the Peloponnese. Her six-year apprenticeship at the laboratories of Mirka Υemendzakis was the starting point and basis for the creation and documentation of her voice training method. Mirka Yemendzakis was her voice-training mentor, with her own patented method on the human voice and breath. The purpose of her postgraduate dissertation is to continue her mentor’s research, focused on the embodied voice. Her research raises many questions on the way that the voice is approached, such as whether and how one can train the voice as part of a holistic physical-acting training.
My presentation is going to have two parts. Lecture part and practical part. In the lecture part, I am going to explain what kendo is like. I am going to be talking about the brief history of kendo, training methods or the ways of striking. Then in the practical part, I am going to show some basic techniques and basic training methods with some members of my kendo club. In kendo, there are four body areas that we can strike (head, forearm, torso and throat). I am going to show how to strike and how we usually practice kendo. In the end of the presentation, participants can try kendo using shinai which is the sword made of bamboo that we usually use in practice.
My name is Ryo Arai. I am Japanese. I was born and raised in Japan but currently I live in Athens, Greece. I have been practicing kendo which is one Japanese martial art since I was seven years old (I am now 34 years old). When I was in high school, I got first place in team competition out of about one hundred fifty schools and second place in individual competition out of about three hundred participants in the prefecture of Saitama, Japan. As a result, I got the right to participate in the national high school kendo championships and got fifth place in team competition. After graduating from high school, I went to the university of Tsukuba which is one of the top universities in kendo in Japan and studied physical education. While I was in the university, I took part in the national university kendo championships in which the very limited number of students could participate. Then, I went to the graduate school of university of Tsukuba and I have obtained a master’s degree in physical education. Also, I have got the teaching license of physical education. While I was in the graduate school, I had a chance to teach kendo in Athens. I was staying in Athens for about three months and teaching kendo to the locals. From this experience, I decided to move to Greece, and I have been teaching kendo in Athens since 2012. I am Renshi 6 dan (8 dan is the highest grade in kendo) and the men’s team head coach of Swedish kendo national team which is one of the top European teams in kendo. Currently, I am studying sports philosophy in Athens university as a Ph.D. student. My main theme is the comparison between kendo and fencing. I also work as a translator and an interpreter. I speak Japanese, English and Greek. I have cooperated with Japanese TV channels, newspaper companies or magazine companies. In 2021, I went to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics with Greek track and field team as an interpreter.
This soundwalk in Marathon area will focus on listening practices that cultivate participants’ acoustic experience and perception and the way they will become aware of the world through sound communication. Technological tools will be used, such as contact microphones, in order to understand the resonance of the human body and its sonic boundaries. Following specific aural practices participants will experience the acoustic aspects of embodied engagement in the world.
Dr. Andromachi Vrakatseli teaches Sound art and Sound design in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Western Macedonia, Greece
The purpose of this demonstration is to provide the participants with an embodied guide to their voice, regardless to their current stage of development; after many years of practice, both as an artist and as a pedagogue, working in various environments, I came to realize that any action that activates the vocal mechanism needs to be lived as a process, a becoming of the whole body on stage; very often vocal performers tend to focus only on the narrow space of their “voice box” to achieve perfection and refinement in their vocal motor skills; yet, this mechanical approach has been proven deeply disappointing. We have trained ourselves to perceive only a very limited version of our vocal identity, confined within the determining boundaries of styles, preconceptions and trends. This alters profoundly how our imagination works as a cognitive skill: the limitations of our sound become the limitations of our imagination; this dynamic relation is one that permeates every part of our being on stage.
My presentation aspires to tackle the root causes of our vocal discomfort based on a twofold methodological approach: the first part of our work is based on the breath as an evermoving force that assures the flow of our physical and vocal presence. Performing a sequence of exercises, we will try to enhance our understanding about how this flow of energy emerges into our conscience through the architective principle of resistance. Flow and resistance are bound up with and reflected in one another. Vocal production is thus seen as an interactive process, both a response and a stimulus to these two apparently opposing yet inseparable principles that ground vocal perception on the movement of breath.
In the second part of our work, we will be exploring basic inner qualities in music that are similar to physical and emotional processes: the patterns of motion and rest, tension and release, excitation, sudden change, fulfilment, anticipation, ascent and descent are musical processes that manifest in accord with their physical and emotional correlates. This can be a most valuable realization that would lead us to a better, more organic shaping of our musical/vocal intentions as physical/emotional ones.
The demonstration will start with the training; discussion and theoretical exchanges will follow. This aspires to be an insightful experience for the participants that will open new ways to work and will offer thoughts to be considered for further exploration.
Estimated duration: 90min. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothes, to have their own bottle / cup of water and a straw of medium diameter. A simple, short song is required as material to work upon, in order to implement some of the exercises and experiment with the process.
EDI – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
Our teaching demonstration is open to students of performing arts; it aspires to promote a more inclusive and welcoming ongoing creative process across our many diverse identities and backgrounds. So, you are invited to show up as your full self.
Dr. Maira Milolidaki soprano, performer, voice instructor (Deree, The American College of Greece)
A versatile and prominent soprano, Maira Milolidaki is an active performer offering a repertoire that ranges from baroque to modern. Her appearances in concerts and staged productions include the National Theater of Greece, the Greek National Opera, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome), the Teatro dal Verme (Milan), the Carnegie Hall (New York), the Theater Festival AndriyivskyFest in Kiev, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Jazz Club Half Note. As a recording artist, she collaborates with the avant-garde electronic sound designer Constantine Skourlis, creating experimental music for internationally acclaimed theatre and dance performances. Human voice as a unified whole is her inspirational motivation. Over the years of practice, she keeps moving across disciplines, developing embodied voice research through advanced artistic projects; as a member of the Music Theatre Company Eutopia, she uses the solid grounding of her classical training to explore the dialogue of the singing voice with various art forms, engaging with new ways to encourage vocal improvisation within contemporary performances. She has been involved in vocal pedagogy for the last 15 years. Both her professional experience and the latest developments in voice studies are part of her teaching; she regularly participates in workshops and conferences that inform her methods, such as the Estill Voice Training and the Acting Method by Th. Terzopoulos. For the last 7 years she works as a research- based voice pedagogue and repertoire coach for the Music and Theatre Arts Department of Deree – The American College of Greece.
The transformation of the actor into a character has been conceived in the Indian theatrical tradition as an incarnation or ensarkoses. Descent of the divine on the earth as a hero born to a women is a theme common to ancient Greece and India. The ancient Indian text of dramaturgy, called the Natyashastra, conceives of the actor as a depersonalized force that enters the character and enlivens it just as a soul enlivens a body.
Acting is not mere mimesis but a recreation or creating a new world/cosmos on the state. The actor creates this new world order.
The Indian traditional vocabulary for the entry of the actor on the stage is ‘avatar’ which is a synonym for ensarkoses or becoming flesh and blood by the divine or creative force.
Pr. Barat Gupt, a former Associate Professor in English at University of Delhi, is an Indian classicist, theatre theorist, sitar and surbahar player, musicologist, cultural analyst, and newspaper columnist.Presently he is a Trustee and Executive member, at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi (Ministry of Culture, Govt of India).
MARATHON ACTING SYMPOSIUM 2022
VENUE: MARATHON RUN START, MARATHON, GREECE