Tag Archives: Fitzmaurice

The HERO challenge

The new sessions of The Acting Class began on Sunday morning, with the first of the six Archetypes we will be exploring – one per class.

What is an Archetype? Well, first let me acknowledge that everyone who works with some principle involving Archetypes will do it differently. I begin with John Wright’s Masks of the Archetypes approach, and then play with it my way.

You will do it differently. That is because Archetypes are just ways of being human, ways of recognizing certain ‘types’ of people, ways of recognizing certain aspects of our own ways of being. There is no such thing, in the world, which can be identified as being an actual Archetype, and there is no such person who can, either. You can be a hero, huntress, child, fool etc, but that just means you are manifesting qualities which are recognizable from our mutual idea of what we understand as Hero, Huntress, Child or Fool. These are ‘types’ which occur in the folk tales and songs of cultures throughout the world.

Batman is a hero, just as Hercules, Sigurd, Beowolf, Calamity Jane, and Cathy Freeman are all heroes, real or imagined. Actors are heroes (NOTE to our American colleagues, here in OZ we are non-gender specific with the word ‘actor’).

A hero is an individual who behaves heroically, or does something heroic, and thus we call him a hero, or her (more usually) a heroine. The Archetype, Hero, has become manifest in them, and we recognize the qualities of Hero, and so we call them heroes. Note where I capitalize, and where I don’t.

So, having spent some time on Sunday exploring the physical experience of embodying Hero-like movement qualities, I have challenged the class to practice the exercise, to spend as much time in the coming week in Hero body as they possibly can.

This morning, I went out for a morning walk, before the heat settled in. As I headed down through the streets of Milton, along Park Road to Coronation Drive and back up Cribb Road, I challenged myself to move into Hero movement qualities, feeling the power in my legs, finding myself looking up and out as I walked (instead of my customary watching the ground). My shoulders dropped back, my chin tucked in and I noticed the impulse for propulsion forward in space now very definitely came from my centre of gravity, which was slightly higher than usual, somewhere round the solar plexus region.

It felt pretty good, I can tell you!  Then it lapsed, and I had to focus to regain the sense of equilibrium, it drifted, I brought it back – and then I realised just how much this way of working is analogous to Fitzmaurice tremoring. Just as the tremor is the body’s response to being placed in an impossible dilemma – the muscles begin to shake, and the breath flows in and out at its own pace – so trying to embody an Archetype is an impossible situation, brain and imagination struggle to make sense of the task of achieving an impossible goal, the body responds as best it can and then the magic happens…

The moment you feel LIKE a hero, it seems as if you’ve lost it. Here you are, all Heroic, and yet you’re being asked to do something absolutely ridiculous like hop on one foot, or remember and speak lines. You feel insecure, the only thing you are sure of is that you are ‘wrong’. In fact, you are absolutely on track, because what you feel is what your particular Hero is feeling, i.e. ridiculous. But you want to be Heroic, and sensible, and so you feel embarrassed, even a sense of failure. WOW!!! How cool is that? A hero who is embarrassed, who feels like a failure?

Your task, now, is to keep working to become more and more familiar with the physical movement qualities, to practise BEING in those qualities (just as you would practise speaking in a new language, or a new accent, if you want to become really skilful with it). I’m sitting here at my desk, realising that I am slouching, so I’ve now drawn up my spine, acknowledged my handsomely ridged brow, strong nose and firm mouth, my furrowed cheeks and my cleft chin, and Boy, am I going to defeat a few evil armies before bedtime?

Of course I shall.

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“Deep Voice” is coming to The Acting Class

Just back from my trip to the States, I managed to sleep from 8 pm till 3.30 am, so here I am…

And I am inspired!  So much rich inspiration at the VASTA Conference in New York, catching up with the work of Kristen Linklater, Catherine Fitzmaurice and Patsy Rodenburg,(in workshops) and Arthur Lessac (4 weeks short of his 100th birthday) gave a totally wonderful, political and joyous Keynote speech. He actually danced down the aisle to receive his Lifetime Honorary Member plaque!

I collected my copy of the latest Voice and Speech Review, dedicated to “The Moving Voice”, and an article by Marya Lowry has reminded me just how far our voices will take us, inwards and outwardly, if we allow them the space and size of our imaginations. So –

Not only will be working on our Archetypal qualities, physical and vocal, but they will be HUGE. We will be playing with some of the lamentation work I did with Marya six years ago, Frankie Armstrong’s Voices of the Archetypes and the Roy Hart work I have done with many wonderful teachers and performers over the years.  There will be much laughter, and many adventurous explorations.

And in a day or two I will report on the performance of The Fall of June Bloom which I gave at the conference with my amazing co-actors, John Graham and Micha Espinosa.  Suffice it to say, for now, that it was very well received…

See you Sunday week!

June Bloom at VASTA

June Bloom at VASTA

Jerome (John Graham) and June (Flloyd Kennedy)Jerome (John Graham) and June (Flloyd Kennedy)
watching Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

watching Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

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Change is a-foot

If you have visited the website lately, you will have noticed that the timetable for next term’s Acting Class keeps changing.  Well, it’s about to change again, because I have now been advised by Metro Arts that they have a room for us right through till the end of November.  So, I’m now thinking about whether we will have a break (those who decide to join the Class for both terms) or whether we won’t. In either case, we’ll be having a lot of fun.

I’m off to Seattle next week, then to New York for the VASTA conference, where the main presenters will be Catherine Fitzmaurice, Kristen Linklater and Patsy Rodenburg, with Arthur Lessac giving the Keynote Speech. Can you imagine a richer feast of Voices on Voice?

I will be presenting a performance of The Fall of June Bloom: A Modern Invocation. We (my fellow presenters and I) have been rehearsing online, it’s quite an adventure. Imagine, if you will, being real and imagined in real and virtual space and time, in three different time zones. Up till now it has always been the case that where my colleagues are rehearsing in the afternoon and evening, I am already in tomorrow morning.  But when I get to Seattle, I will be an hour behind John, who is two hours behind Judi and Micha. Weird. It shouldn’t matter. But it does.

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Hot stuff

Yes, it is indeed hot stuff from where I am sitting right now, with the fan blasting hot air into the hot space around me. 36 degrees Celcius, and rising, according to the weather bureau. But there is one good thing about sitting in an invisible ocean of hot air, and that is the conscious awareness of air as being something all pervasive in our lives. Usually we just take it for granted, never giving it a thought unless something interferes with our own personal supply.

For actors, and singers, that often takes the form of a teacher or trainer asking you to ‘think about your breathing’. Immediately we do so, it all starts to go ‘pear-shaped’. Then the exercises turn into a process of doing consciously what we normally do unconsciously (breathing), only in the unconscious way, rather than the conscious way!

That is where the Fitzmaurice work we touched upon last week is going to come in very handy. It is designed in such a way that we are conscious of breathing, but (eventually) unable, and/or unwilling to interfere with the process, and that allows us to extend the breathing capacity, to fine-tune it for our needs and ultimately to be responsive to the process of thinking/feeling/being/doing which is speaking out loud.

The ‘Russian’ way I introduced you to last week works on similar principles. Do your vocal practice, and you are acting, or performing, however you like to term it. All voice work should be acting work – and vice versa!

I have emailed the first part of the ‘full’ warm up program to class members. I have uploaded it here also, Full Warm Up Program for Performers Part 1 and if anyone would like to contact me for further information, or suggestions for future posts, please do so via the ‘comments’ section.

You will notice there is also a new page, “Warm-ups, exercises, rehearsal and performance preparation”. This is where I will host the links to handouts, as they become available and relevant to the class.

Incidentally, if you haven’t already done so, please use the RSS link to ensure that all Being in Voice blogs are downloaded to your computer as they appear online.

Flloyd

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