Yesterday smears in my mind, both in spite and because of how well-jointed is the program here. Each day, every class visits aspects of the same basic theme. We find ourselves doing simple exercises in the morning that turn out to introduce us to the physical and emotional grammar for more complicated exercises in the afternoon. Moves that are introduced in Movement or Physical Awareness warm us up for stage combat, or for the intense work in "Sound and Movement" (see posts below on "Sound and Movement,") later in the day. If we work on jaw and tongue articulation in Voice, we find that every teacher in every other session relates their work to jaw and tongue, in some way. "Channel" awareness that begins in Voice, as part of the Linklater progression, gets picked up in the Alexander Technique work done in Movement, both of which are integrated later in either Stage Combat or Sound and Movement. The simple, close-body dances we do in the morning provides the basis for getting intimate in Stage Combat. And so forth.
In the first session yesterday, we danced in pairs, keeping close body contact with our partner. The idea was to listen to our partner with all of ourselves, not merely eyes and ears. In Movement, we did exercises that sensitized us to the presence of other people and things in our field of awareness--in our acting space--so that we can adroitly maintain contact while pursuing our individual tasks. In voice, we did soft palate exercises, which keep our voices open. In Sound and Movement, we brought all this to bear in the intense interactions between pairs of actors, in which the actors kept their eyes closed and communicated as MUCH as possible through the vocal vibration produced by emitting clear, open vowel sounds, each actor letting the vibrations created by his own voice physically MOVE both himself and the other actor.
A discovery about my body: Margaret noted that the right side of my body is "waking up," a weird sensation (Margaret's ability to tune into my psycho-physical workings is down right eerie.) If you observe me, you'll note that my left hand gets quite expressive, and brings the entire left side of my body with it. My right hand, however, often hangs relatively stiffly or limp, as if I were the victim of a mild stroke. In Sound and Movement, though, I discovered that my right hand and side have something to say that my left side doesn't. And what it says scares me. Whereas my left hand moves with some eloquence and grace, my right hand thrusts and punches crudely, urgently.... Angrily. Because I've worked so hard to put anger into a manageable place in my life, this is a very scary sensation. It's also a relief. For the last couple of days my right side has, quite literally, been warmer than my left, meaning, I can feel it (I wouldn't be surprised if my memory and reasoning abilities improve as my right side re-animates, connected as it is to my left brain.)
Today is our day off. I'm blogging, learning my lines, readying for a walk into town, and planning to get some sleep. Tomorrow, the third week begins. It only gets harder.
And more rewarding.