Poetic tension – movement as metaphor

by Moira Arthurs | 1 April 2014

Movement…communicates character, emotion, mood and often narrative.

Movement can be seen as a metaphor. It communicates character, emotion, mood and often narrative. Physical Theatre is a huge area of exploration and the following Master Class will focus on Tension, Laban Movements (with newspapers or magazines), and Eye Focus. We will combine these three to create an ensemble devised piece of rhythm and tension in space.

I owe this Master Class to so many practitioners: Jacques Lecoq; Rudolph Laban; Simon Mcburney; David Farmer and Diane Gavelis. Like all Drama teachers, I’ve been a magpie – collecting glittering baubles from workshops, assorted plays and readings. I’ve just seen the National Theatre Live production of Coriolanus from the Donmar Warehouse. The set had twelve chairs and a ladder. It was an inspiration. The power of the actor to transform space with simple chairs can never be overstated.

Section One: Based on Lecoq’s States of Tension
Participants create a square with chairs and work through States of Tension: sitting, standing, and walking. They are both participants and observers; creating inner monologues and listing (in their heads) possible traits in others. The states are clearly influenced by Lecoq but state five has been altered from “Suspense” to “Suspension” to give a greater focus on period drama and gender exploration. Lecoq’s original focuses on 19th century melodrama. This exploration is much broader.

Exhausted or Catatonic. The Jellyfish. Minimal energy required.
Performance style: puppet, zombie, young animal, homeless person, war victim, drug addict …

Laid back – the Californian. Laid back, lethargic, languorous
Described by Lecoq as “Americans on the beach”.

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