BODY SCRIPTING FOR DIRECTORS
Body scripting is an investigative approach I have been developing for decades to connect my fascination with anatomy to the process of making choreography and directing physical theater. It looks at the circular nature of mind/body, as the brain directs and the cells/senses respond by returning information back to the brain. Places and spaces go into body scripts—the sternum, the space between the nose and the pubis, the cheekbone and the window. Our course in Umbria will include experiential anatomy, both performing and making body scripts and discussions about how all this applies to directing.. It’s playful, investigative and a way to be specific as well as in the moment. I use body scripting in my job as movement coach to actors, as it heightens their sensitivity and enhances their sense of body empathy for themselves, others on stage, and the audience. We are often stuck in bodies and postures we’ve aligned at an early age in response to our psychological environment. This added to rigid dance/theater training, can homogenize individuality, lessen range and dampen the imagination. For the last decade in my work with performers with disabilities I’ve begun learning about the nervous system, our mirror neurons and how the energy of imagination is an organizing physical principle.
TAMAR ROGOFF is a choreographer and filmmaker who explores the outer limits of how people negotiate extreme circumstances. She combines unlikely company members, always on the lookout for ways to tell difficult stories and explore disparate bodies. The Ivye Project (1994) took place in a forest in Belarus, surrounding the mass graves of Rogoff’s relatives. This became the subject of Summer In Ivye, a documentary made by Rogoff and Daisy Wright, screened at the Hamptons Film Festival. Demeter’s Daughter, a large scale site-work on the streets of the Lower East Side, used a cast and crew of 100, community gardens, rooftops, and schoolyards. Daughter of a Pacifist Soldier was based on the year-long relationship between the company and a community of veterans with PTSD. Rogoff choreographed Christina Olson: American Model, a full-length solo at P.S. 122 for actor Claire Danes and Edith & Jenny (2007), an interdisciplinary work for Danes and Ariel Flavin. Diagnosis of a Faun premiered at La MaMa (2009) and the Kennedy Center before touring. For this piece, Rogoff trained Gregg Mozgala, an actor with Cerebral Palsy, to dance. Mozgala and Rogoff were invited to Harvard and Johns Hopkins to talk about his unexpected transformation and Rogoff’s choreographic method she’s named Body Scripting. Enter The Faun, Rogoff and Wright’s documentary, premiered at Sarasota, Margaret Mead, and Dance on Camera, among other festivals worldwide.March 28th 2017 it will be broadcast on PBS. Rogoff was movement coach to Danes in HBO’s Emmy-winning Temple Grandin, to child actor Thomas Horn in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and other actors. She is a five-time recipient of grants from the NEA, and has been funded by Dancing in the Streets, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Rockefeller MAP Grant, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Harkness Foundation, Sundance and the Guggenheim Foundation.
THE “PRESENCE” IN THE REPRESENTATION | BETWEEN CHILDHOOD & THE VOICE
I have the feeling that every theatrical action put in place a question about the theater itself and its need.
Which theatre do I look for? Which representation of the world?
To deepen this question, we have to act and, through the experience, discover further questions. Continuous discoveries…but this process takes time.
The same time the craftsman needs,
Because only the experience and the practice can design a clear picture while remaining obscure.
But how we can feel a presence in the representation?
How do we search a theatrical action that could present and take off, that could remain central and dominant in the representation but also faithful to the ‘uncertainty’ principle?
How can we combine what we see and what we do not see?
Because we cannot limit ourselves only to what we ‘see’!
The audience, then, may refrain from immediately explaining everything.
In the drama, in the scenic rhythm, in the actions, in the theater, an Empty time has to enter, in which the viewer and the actor may spend more time, without being immediately carried away by the narrative pace. A double, triple look that allows you to experience the representation through all your senses: childhood knows it very well
Through four figures: Buchettino from Perrault, Glimmung from the novel by P. Dick “Galactic Healer”, Macbeth from Shakespeare, Oedipus from Sophocles we are facing the questions and, by acting, we will seek other questions that, like the Delphic oracle, do not tell, do not hide, but show signs.
“I believe that my work lies essentially between childhood and the voice, due to both of their ability to rise towards something that cannot as yet be seen, and to believe in that which has not yet come about. This is why I want to remain within the type of culture that children carry inside themselves. Spending time with small children, who live prior to language, I as well can rediscover my voice and wrap up within myself the mystery of life.” C.G.
CHIARA GUIDI, one of the founders of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio with Romeo Castellucci, now simply the Societas, has been honing her ideas on children’s theatre and vocal experimentation for over twenty years, in order to raise questions as to the nature of theatre and see how, through childhood and the voice, it can become a sonorous experience of language and the word. Between childhood and the voice, there lies an intuition: theatre needs the revolutionary force of children, because through them it is possible to leap into the void opened up by imagination and play; this allows language to be put to the test, and thus adopt a way of listening to that which is not present, but is present. Language, upon a closer look, does not come across to children as a whole. Children act on it, conditioning it; and thus the voice, which, as a pure will to speak, is sound, and carries with itself the unveiling force of music. In this way, the voice leads the word to gain a glimpse, within that which is said, of the force of that which is not said. The practice of theatre in which Chiara Guidi is engaged, from a vocal perspective and with particular attention to children, turns to play in its search for the possibility of experiencing another vision of the world in which sound becomes palpable and forms are transformed, one passing into the next, just like when children look at a chair and see a horse. Just like play, art as well, as Chiara Guidi tells us, does not aspire towards knowledge, and yet generates it. A bit like fables, which are not intended to impart knowledge, and yet teach. And the knowledge that emanates from this process, in which the voice delves deep and lifts veils, generates experience and stresses the process of work. The presence of the child and the unknown horizons of the voice also activate an unexplored path for actors, now called towards a “scenic play” with the same necessity and urgency expressed by children’s games. Theatre, for Chiara Guidi, is never a form of entertainment held on the stage, nor does it turn to an audience in order to inform it. It is a gesture that has to do with wonder, not communication, and searches for the ideal spectator’s vision in children. Young children express that pristine condition of the gaze that theatre demands; they are the original and originating spectators. Chiara searches for this when she creates performances for adults as well. The theatre of this director, performer and dramaturge – who often holds encounters in schools – requests educators and adults to adopt an attitude of listening, asks children to act according to the rules of the game, and calls for spectators to rediscover their own role of responsibility in seeing and feeling, so as to make their way further, disarmed, into the birth of beauty.
DOCUMENTARY THEATRE: OF FIRES & BATTLES, OF LOOKS & MASSES
Can history be told through theatre – the history that moves and hurts, that amuses and transforms us, the history that develops, explains and makes existence magical?
The workshop develops as a personal reflection of the artist’s professional journey. Andrea Adriatico, both in his film and theatre works, has always dealt with the history of his time. The history of simple men and women, busy investigating the present within the expressionist dichotomy that juxtaposes “man and mass,” the individual viewpoint versus the collective issues.
ANDREA ADRIATICO founded Teatri di Vita, international center for performing arts, in 1993. His shows are characterized by strong attention to the word (Koltès, Pasolini, Beckett, Copi, Jelinek) and by a particular use of the space. His focus is on ‘urgent’ issues, where the politics is intertwined with the intimacy of the living conditions. He presented his shows and films in many festivals.
FRAMEWORKS: DIGITAL DEVISING FOR CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE
Frameworks is a set of techniques in digital devising for contemporary performance. It incorporates a new and expanding vocabulary for performance that reflects and embodies our hyper-connected world; it includes exercises for creators, collaborators, and participants in performance works; and it engages in working with contemporary technology. Some of the concepts and exercises that will be introduced are: The Hybrid Body – training the body for simultaneous presence. This topic incorporates movement based training in an awareness of the video camera and its frame; learning multiple presence, or how to accomplish overlapping performance goals through moment-to-moment acting; dramaturgy of the Image; and technical discussions about evolutions in media and the use of technology in performance. Post Internet and New Aesthetic – This topic includes developing and coding algorithmic prompts for devising; exercises in aesthetic qualities of reenacting, montage, sampling, looping, and distortion; and embodying the concepts of the timeline, frame rate, and edit.
Caden Manson is a director and media artist. He is co-founder of the media ensemble Big Art Group, editor at Contemporary Performance, and curates the annual Special Effects Festival in NYC. He has co-created, directed, media and set designed 22 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s Le Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Manson is a Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, Pew Fellow, and MacDowell Fellow. He has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, Theater der Zeit, and Theater Journal. Manson currently heads The John Wells Directing Program MFA at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.