It’s a puffer fish?! Of course to me, I can clearly see that the green ball that’s currently rolling around the floor of the studio is in fact not a puffer fish. But to Kara and Cat, it is anything they want it to be. 4 of our actors are participating in a leading imagination activity. One eyes closed, is being led on a journey by the other.   As I look over again, I can see the Slavka is leading Georgie. Tip toeing across the room. Pausing to kick a ‘stone’, which in reality is one of the yoga blocks from the cupboard. ‘Oh be careful of the stone’! Her story, it seems at the moment, is outer space themed. She leads her to the corner of the room. Into the rocket. Onto a stool. ‘We’re taking off in 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1….’ She shakes the rickety stool sending Georgie into orbit. ‘Blast off’!! ‘Someone took my shoes!’ I glance over to Cat and Kara. Cat is crawling through a ‘darkened tunnel’, (underneath the chairs placed around the room). ‘You do know you haven’t got anything on your feet right?’ ‘Yeah’. Jo swaps in to take Kara’s place. But Cat is now leading. Slavka and Georgie have now swapped too. ‘Oh be careful of the tree!’ Slavka waves her hands around in confusion. Brushing the ‘branches’ (scarf) off the ‘tree’ (coat stand) away from her face.   Cat now seeing the stand, utilizes it also. Guiding Jo underneath it’s branches. ‘Look up’. Says Cat. We can see the ceiling’. Jo looks up, eyes still closed obviously, but in her minds eye, she could be seeing a totally different ceiling. One with a chandelier maybe. Or a glass ceiling where you can look up into a starry sky. Cat guides her to …

Eduardo’s turn today.   Purple yoga mats are introduced to the team, pulled out of the cupboard at the corner of the room. The deep puce colour contrasts dramatically as they are placed on the black darken floor.   As Nina Simone’s ‘my baby don’t care for me’ croons through the speaker at the end of the room, I can’t help but notice that nearly everyone, despite their current engagements, is tapping or shaking along to the tune. Including myself it seems as I look down to see my foot tapping rhythmically.   Back to the actors. I see different interpretations of this piece of music. Different stories. Each is in their own bubble.   They each start using props to add to their pieces. A coat stand. A tissue. A yoga mat. As they start to get closer to each others spaces, they start to invade albeit incorporate themselves into each other’s stories.   ‘The connection should be physical- a connection between the two people- explore more’.   The spontaneity of these pieces make watching even more interesting.   Two perform a zombie like dance, making the other impassable. One takes sudden interest in the yoga mats. Sliding them one into another across the floor. Slow. Deliberate.   ‘Be careful with your movement-don’t be sloppy- pay attention to detail’.   Two on the floor now. Dragging. Paralysed.   They become involved with each other when they want to. Alone Then together. Her story becomes theirs. Two lives conjoined. Three lives conjoined.   The three sit in the middle of the floor. Together. They cocoon. They separate. Passing ships.   Still. Pause. Reflection.   ‘What is the most difficult thing to do when we’re acting’? Eduardo paces. He looks round expectantly.   ‘Relaxing’. ‘Corpsing’. ‘Revealing’. He stops ‘Say that again’. …

We’re walking. Trying not to put too much weight on your feet. Fill the gaps. A neutral walk. And now, if I meet someone and they meet me, we jump, and we, haha, well we try to clap. Eye contact. Acknowledge each other. And when you clap hands say your name. Try to walk faster and faster. Energy. And when you walk too fast start running. The sound of many light feet thumps on the dance floor as people run and jump. Now slowing down. Lowering yourself. Collect your breath. And now when you meet someone you’re going to do a little provocation, a little street fight. And then you can make sounds, stupid sounds, stupid movements. – ‘Shwaaa’ ‘Ha!’ ‘Katoo! -‘   Ok, lets get back to normal walk. You can feel the energy in the air. Hear only feet and breath. And now we’ll try to do its called the walk of giants. So, very big body. As big as possible. Imagine you’re MASSIVE. And you’re walking through amazing MOUNTAINS. And you look down on little people. You look down through the wind. How do you meet that wind in every movement? A massive storm is coming. Meet. Say hello the way giants would speak. Big voice. Booming voices. – Hellooooooooo! – After a large amount of fun with this one, the actors are arranged into two groups. Ok. So I want you to tangle yourself. Try to cross the space like that with as little sound as possible. Try not to crash into each other. The team to cross to the other side wins. The two teams, both a large clump of indistinguishable bodies with many legs, slowly lurch towards one another. No words are said as everyone concentrates. It’s bizarre, beautiful, surreal. After a while there is a sigh, as a group becomes accidentally de-tangled. On …

As with most Tuesday sessions at the Island, the artists start with a warm up. It gives them the opportunity to limber up. Physically. Mentally. To become blank. Each character has yet to be written. Jo is leading today’s session. Cheery music blares through the small speakers in the corner of the room. It gives the four participants chance to be fun, erratic. The music tones down. More mellow. The stretches, movements become more subdued. Relaxed. Sitting now. ‘Can I ask you two to stand up’. Two of the three stand up. ‘Let’s play a game. Push not to win it’s called.’ The rules of this exercise are explained to our artists. ‘You’ve got to push each other with your arms without either of you winning, otherwise, you would lose the game’. The two players make an arch. Placing both their hands on each others shoulders. The strain of each others oppressing weight makes them both wobble slightly. It seems to be a game of balance. Whilst trying to maintain the upper hand by pushing forward, each participant must ensure that they do not go to far. To do so would mean both would fall. ‘It’s about learning to trust one another.’ Jo echoes my thoughts on the proceedings. ‘Do you feel like you’re holding back at all?’ ‘It’s a really good exercise for trust- learning how to use your body- using all of your strength, like your going to win- then, when you feel like you’ve pushed too much, withdraw’. Another pair forms up, while Jo looks on, observing. ‘Interesting’. There seems to be a slight increase in force between the two this time. They push to and fro. ‘This time it’s different. This time I can see real pushing’. Jo, again, calls for a halt. ‘Did you feel …

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 …