NOTES TO PERFORMERS AND ACTORS

Here you will find tips, ideas and responses to actors and performers- students and people I am mentoring. Most often these come from questions that people have asked me or things I am discovering in the class room and in my own process as a performer/director/creator.

Some of the notes will have short hand for terms that I use in my classes- feel free to contact me if you have questions! I have worked as a movement for actors teacher as the core of my expertise, but I also taught choreography for 12 years and teach directors, playwriting, acting and theatre creation as well. See my about page for more details!

 

 

 

 

Monday
Nov092015

feeling your heart

So I have been teaching interoceptive awareness for some time along with many people in the somatic world and the science is slowly catching up! This is a readable, exciting article:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141205-the-man-with-two-hearts

 

Thursday
Feb262015

Occipital joint - head neck connection

awareness of this area is hugely important for actors and performers...BUT such a hard thing to find for real! there is a reason Butoh artists spend a lot of time on the bobble head movement. It is not just to create that beautifully haunting floating head! 

When I try to adjust people's heads and they are not fully in interoceptive awareness... it is a bit like trying to delicately rearrange the base of a brick building... nothing moves delicately or pernanently, the whole building has an unconscious 'you have got to be kidding' reaction and resists.

BUT, if I can get in there when a student is really warmed up- emotionally AND physically! Well... it is intense, but gorgeous what happens!

SO... get really warmed up AS A FULL PERFORMER - not a warm up for JUST your body or even JUST your voice... but hook up some really high stakes image work (memory or personal psychology or use rich artistic, moving sources- text, art, music)  AND then go for a walk and try to release your head from your neck...

NOW this does NOT mean curl your cervical spine forward and drop your chin all the way to your chest... that is YOUR NECK - that is the most typical beginner mistake YOUR HEAD IS NOT YOUR NECK..

DROPPING your head is a VERY SMALL movement... BUT HUGE in terms of its affect overall

take a look at this image of the cervical spine- and the actual joint, it is really high... behind your nose really

file:///Users/erikabatdorf/Desktop/Rectus_capitis_lateralis_muscle01.png
as you walk, imagine that your head loves your tailbone and without collapsing your neck release that head TO the tailbone IN THE FRONT OF THE BODY, as if at any moment you could drop into a forward roll with ease...
of course, BREATH and feel breath as you do this...
Friday
May092014

a class exercise versus rehearsal

The difference between a class exercise and rehearsal…

We are OFTEN doing what I would call 'scale work' in my classes NOT rehearsing. In rehearsal one gives the role of observer to the director… but in an exercise/scale work, one is simply increasing ones skill in a specific area and self observation is important.

IF you confuse the two, and you

1) think the exercises/scale work should feel like rehearsal, you will find the exercises antithetical to theatre/acting in general and you would be right but you will then not PRACTICE the particular exercise that is building a particular skill set and may shift into something too general to stretch your skill set

and

2) if you approach rehearsal trying to incorporate a skill that you are still learning and is not yet acquired, you will become an observer of your own work while working and this is detrimental to rehearsing well

Saturday
Sep282013

article on slow movement and health

this is an extremely comprehensive and informative article that supports awareness and slow physical movement WITH awareness from Psychology Today. It also gives information about different movement forms that you can try that offer this...

http://bit.ly/1bP6z06

Friday
Sep202013

fan letter to Shakespeare

Dear Shakespeare…

You have got to be kidding… all those plays in a lifetime? Seriously, who do you think you are…  so the monologue at the end of Anthony and Cleopatra, the one where you mess with the pentameter and create this rhythm that makes it possible for an ordinary actress to play a formidable woman, no a queen committing suicide, no a historically mythical queen who we basically have vast ideas about because of you, ok- so that monologue where you create the perfect rhythm… that if analyzed in context (sure maybe its all in retrospect, but still…) makes you appear a god… can you teach me??? That?

I think it is completely unfair. How can any of us ever write a play with this stuff being produced EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME… can’t you let us have a break? Since you are some kind of god, can you arrange with whoever runs the theatre scene from up there, to have your plays forbidden for a time? Just long enough for the rest of us idiots to have a chance to write something decent and get produced even if our work all SUCKS next to yours? And I will not quote from you, even though that is virtually impossible (I am doing my best to not make this a whole series of quotes from your plays, oh, then wouldn’t I be clever… but NO! Forsooth, I will not quote you!) No, I will stick to my own pedestrian language and suffer for it… damn you… (sorry, really sorry, I hope you have a sense of humour, I didn’t mean that…. And notice how I spelled humour? I am Canadian, a little closer to you than… oh never mind…)