Coming up

Discovery – Student Company

Thu 1 Nov 2012

Discovery.

We may not have been flexing the frontiers of space exploration, but as Tid explained, “this is rocket science for some people”, and he was right.

Today’s session focused on learning The Actor’s Warm-up – a series of controlled movements and stretches designed to help us release the physical tensions we hold within our bodies.

“It’s my body, I’m in control, I can make it do whatever I want!” is a natural response but we quickly discover we are less in control than we think. “Relax!” says Tid, as we begin warming up the muscles in our neck, “Relax your arms! You’re holding on, you need to relax!” We desperately try to relax but we are discovering all these little tensions inhabiting and inhibiting our bodies, tensions we have unconsciously acquired over days, months, years – maybe a lifetime!

We discover our ‘wings’, or latissimus dorsi (yes, Latin, biology AND theatre – it’s an education here at the Lakeside Theatre Student Company!). Imagine going your whole life without knowing your right latissimus dorsi is larger than your left? Why? Perhaps because you are right handed? Who knows? Well now we all know; we are all present for these little discoveries.

The warm-up evolves. Language has broken down; in fact Tid has deviated from English altogether and is making his own sounds as we copy the lines he makes with his body. We perform these exercises with a scientific precision -there is little point in doing otherwise. In pairs we identify what muscles we are working and how they should feel as we perform each exercise. Working with each other helps us learn more about how our own bodies work. “It’s not often the visual imagination is engaged when doing physical work” and so Tid has us imagining pencils protruding from our bodies. Before we know it we are full-blown artists, drawing infinity symbols and figures of 8 with our rib cages. (Dance? Art? P.E? The LTSC curriculum is certainly broad!).

And so what next? A Music lesson! “We’re going to be exploring sound” cries Tid, and whereas we earlier replied with an apprehensive silence, our bodies are warm now, we have lots more to give. A quick recap: Bubble of space? Yep. Balancing the space? Yep. (This stuff is going in!). We create a rhythm. It isn’t forced, it just happens. Tid claps his hands, “one to receive, one to give”, and suddenly claps are flying across the stage, dancing over our beat. We engage the voice, adding variety to our score.; not a one-man-band but an orchestra, 18 bodies strong, conducted by ourselves and connected by our beat. What has this got to do with theatre? I could tell you, but why not pop along next Wednesday and discover for yourself?

 By Stephanie Humphries

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