Teaching Philosophy

  • Posted on: February 12, 2014
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Movement is my approach to the stage, and to life. Lecoq, in whose pedagogy my own is directly linked, and descended, said, “everything moves.” This is the premise on which masks, and therefore characters, are created. My movement class follows the same teaching tradition, provoking students to embody the masks of all things around them, colors, shapes, elements, materials, animals, and people, as observed in life. Push and pull, every movement is one of these. And with such a specific eye, the creation of a character will be in these terms- what pulls? What’s pushed? What compensates?.

Beyond character construction, the embodiment of what we observe brings one closer to the thing observed in every class, the self. No matter if the student is moving like blue, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, or like a spider monkey, the question is, is she or he moving freely? Freedom is the ultimate goal of any acting training. Techniques come and go, but fearlessness is what the audience comes to see. Cultivating this in a student is impossible without also inviting them to assert the existence of their own dynamics, images, sounds, pushes and pulls. Devising is therefore a strong component.

Devising requires improvisation, that is, moving on impulse, recieving, responding. I teach that in process, creative proposals must be given space to play in improvisation before they can be used or changed. I draw the distinction between impulse and idea, and that in the devising space, once a idea has been proposed, it no longer belongs to the individual who proposed it. The medium is the message. This lesson comes in real time and space in a devising program. A creative process driven by thought and debate will reflect obscurity and high demands on stage. A process where every proposal runs its natural lifespan will produce life on stage. My devising class, time permitting, will include scenography, devising skills, time and space for actual creation work, and periodical presentations to the entire class, where myself and other teachers will respond to the work produced, and then provide the next provocation, be it entirely new, or a continuation of the existing one, as in the exploration of a particular territory, such as melodrama or commedia.