the training and creation processes themselves… sustain and nourish us on our professional path
“The body knows things about which the mind is ignorant.”
This article speaks of the training process rather than the performative outcomes of physical training methods for theatre – exploring the significant paradigm shift that occurs when the body is placed as the focal point for creative expression. For physical training not only aids in the creation of a more articulate and dynamic performance but also establishes pathways for the development of an inner anchor which manifests as self-esteem and confidence.
Our society has a very strange relationship with matter. On the one hand, we are seemingly haunted by it, as suggested by our obsession with the accumulation of material possessions, the acquisition of “beautiful” bodies as well as the fear of our own mortality, to name but a few examples. However, any scratching at the surface reveals a profound discomfort, even distrust, of matter. This is undoubtedly a part of the legacy inherited from the Judeo-Christian split between spirit and flesh, the former deemed superior to the latter. In giving the body a central role in theatremaking, one is on some level directly challenging this ancient dichotomy. For in honouring the body’s innate knack for meaning making, connection and poetry (and, well, life), one is not only making space for the synthesis of these previously held opposites but is also challenging their assumed hierarchy.
To dare to trust in one’s own matter (otherwise known as our body) rather than to view it as an unruly and often unsatisfying instrument that one must will into submission or into some socially accepted form – is a process more meaningful and radical – than words may suggest.