About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Playing with Laban Theory

I'm starting rehearsal on a new play (which I'm in), and after two days of just reading through the script, we did a night of movement. We did some stretching, and vocal and physical warm-ups, and playing some games to get us working together as a group.

For me, the most interesting part was the time we spent on Laban Movement Theory. You've probably dabbled with a bit of this if you've ever taken an acting class--walk in a circle, notice what part of your body you lead with, try leading with something else, etc. I've done this as an exercise plenty of times to develop a walk or movement style for a character, but never gone much further than that.

What we did in rehearsal yesterday was a little more in-depth, exploring four different contrasting ways of moving:
Direct vs. Indirect
Sudden vs. Sustained
Light vs. Heavy
Free vs. Restrained

I seriously wish I could've had a tape recorder in my head, because I noticed so many interesting things that I wanted to remember for later. When we were playing with indirect movement through space, I noticed if I was charging through the center of the room, and then suddenly changed direction, that seemed like a character who was very inconstant. Using indirect, restrained movement at the edge of the space, I felt more like a character who was very hesitant and unsure. It was enlightening to notice my personal emotional response to movement; when we were playing with restrained movement, I curled into a ball in the middle of the room; and it felt very exposed and scary.

For the character in this play, I thought about what kind of movement felt natural to me, versus how I thought my character would move. My ideas thus far had been that he is suspicious and conniving, masculine, and aggressive (this is a cast of women who are mostly playing male characters, but not actually "as men"). The kind of movement that felt right for him was a confident, swaggery walk, and I often found myself prowling the edge of the space, then picking a destination and charging straight across to it. In one exercise, we were asked to think about how we relate to people who are moving the same way we were, versus those who weren't. I found myself keeping and eye on people moving similarly (either as rivals or possible cohorts), while people who were using lighter, freer movement irritated me ("who are these frolicking idiots? Get out of my way").

This gives me some new ideas about how to play my character, who may not be so fleshed-out in the script, but who I can bring detail and specificity to. I have new tools to use in how to bring him to life. And now the cast has a common language that the director can use so the cast will understand what he's asking for.

I'm also pleasantly achy from a yoga warm-up we did; I think I'll need to incorporate that into my daily routine so I don't run myself down.

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