Last week as part of the Separate Doors 3 project I shared my silent approach methodology with directors, theatre makers and playwrights.
Up to 30 theatre professionals with and without learning disabilities came together for a day of intensive no speech rehearsal process in each master class.
This is what I did and this is what I was thinking…
Activity: Opening. (Starting soundtrack, setting up the space, watching actors do their personal warm up, opening the rehearsal room door to guests).
I’m thinking: Do I know anything at all about anything? Do not run away. Breathe. Why am I doing this? What am I trying to do? What are my objectives? What happens next?
Activity: Flocking. (Bringing people together without speech. Establishing an ensemble).
I’m thinking: Please please please come with me. Will you trust me and go with it? Do you want to connect and be? Can you come along with me through key movement patterns. Can 25 people become 1? Can we all relish the common condition of being human and move together in space?
Activity: Greeting. (Handshakes and emotional connection).
I’m thinking: Is the pacing right? Is anyone dropping out, are there any lapses in focus? When shall I risk a shift in activity, guide the next stage of movement/breath. Offer eyes, take what comes back, accept.
Activity: Sounding. (Ensemble working through breath and onto voice with feeling).
I’m thinking: Be bold. Do it. Keep it interesting, keep changing it up, improvise. Push energy out and bring it back to quiet, to silence, to being. Does everyone want this? Are we all in this together? Can we experience air, energy and be in the same moment together?
Activity: Making (On text, directing actors in character within given circumstances).
I’m thinking: Do the video and audio cues show where we are? Do we all feel and know where we are? Can the actors feed off each others emotional states and move?Can we endow objects, silently? Can I add some dialogue- without it ruining things? Can we keep the physical shape, the action and reaction within the activity and not care about the lines? Am I serving the play? Am I serving the actors? Are we serving the audience? Is everyone authentically being in this space. Right now. Am I holding the rest of the room to the work? Is this drama? Does it make people feel? Do we care? Does it work? Does it matter?
Activity: Ending (Moving out of scene and character dynamics).
I’m thinking: We’re all back in the circle and breathing, have we all come back to neutral, do I need to extend? How long can I hold this silence for? How long do people want and need? Have I got it right? How do I quantify this method? How do I explain it? How do I share this philosophy, this technique and its application?