A First Glance.

As light shines through the three tall windows in the centre of the room, our three actresses attending today’s session walk methodically around the room. Our workshop leader for the day (Eduardo) gets our actors to experiment with the way they walk. The pace, the speed, the movement of their feet.

Every movement is carefully considered. Although the players are out of sync with their own purposeful movements, there is a certain rhythm to the current proceedings. Almost tantamount to watching children taking their first steps as the players experiment moving different limbs different ways.

Light casts shadows onto the blackened floor, reflecting their slow erratic movements.

It’s eerily beautiful.

A piece of music plays. Classical. 

‘I want you to move to the music I play- I don’t want you to dance, I want to see you consciously reacting to the music’.

Watching different interpretations of Eduardo’s instruction’s from each player is intriguing. Each reaction is totally unique.

There is no wrong or right answer.

Music change. French- almost circus like.

I notice each artist has their eyes closed as they perform their piece.
Each trying to make the piece their own.
Their associations become their movements.
One pained expression, one acrobatic roll, one shy, retreating.

Yet it is still a spontaneous interpretation.

Music change. 90’s instrumental pop.

I sum up each of the three in one word.

Upbeat. Fast. Purposeful.

Music change. Classical again.

Relaxed. Gentle. Delicate.

Music change. Noise.

Jagged. Uncertain. Danger.

Music change. Accordion folk jokey.

Bouncy. Marching. Swaying.

Music change. Upbeat Jazz pop.

Erratic. Circling. Confidence.

Music change. Nostalgic pop.

Calm. Puppet . Robot.

Silence.

Still.

Breathing.

No one is afraid to breath. We are just enjoying the silence.

*NOISE*

Eduardo sits on the upright piano that stands on the corner of the room.

Playing with the keys, he goes from dark to light.

As one actress retreats to a corner, eyes closed, curled hands, the other appears to search for a source.

Purposeful. Angry even.

The last, calm. Yogic like state

Insanity. Uncertainty. Blank.

Keys become hopeful. Light.

The first looks up to the light. The second has found something. The third, sat, reflecting.

Keys dark.

Holding the wall for support. Hands clenched in corner, running. Wary, untrusting.

Don’t lose your focus’.

The players line up.

This is the second exercise.

They walk. They retreat.

‘See if you can feel the breathing of the others in the group and decide when you’re ready’.

They walk. They retreat.

‘Again. See if you can feel when it’s time to start- eyes closed’.

They walk. Slightly out of sync. They retreat.

‘Again. Whenever you feel you’re ready’.

They walk. They retreat.

‘Interesting. One last time’.

They walk. They retreat.

‘Did I say that was the last time? I was lying. Once more’.

They walk. They retreat.

‘Once more. Eyes open. Take your time’.

Slowly. They walk. They retreat.

‘How was it?’ 

‘I felt like you were the puppet master’.

‘It’s hard not to dance’.

‘I became very aware of my feet and how odd they are’.

It’s interesting to hear each opinion of the exercise and comments about how they, themselves, felt during the experience. It’s a shared moment. There are similarities. Differences. But as I watch them gently nod their heads in acknowledgment of each other’s experiences, I realise there is  a genuine mutual respect amongst these artists. 

Each workshop is totally unique. The purpose of this blog is to give you, the reader, an insight into the day of our actors and actresses in our space at the Island Bristol. It gives you the opportunity to delve into the sessions and learn more about what we at Up the Ante get up to every Tuesday.
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Sasha explaining her odd feet to the group.


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