Fresh Voice! The Acting Class 2012

The next block of voice and acting classes will take place on Sunday mornings, from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. 

7th October – 25th November

The Voice Class integrates pure voicework with physicality, creative expression and performance technique.

The Voice Class works with the movement of breath in the moving body, to facilitate passionate, nuanced, intelligent self-expression and communication. The overall objective is BEING consistently and totally present IN the act of sounding the VOICE. Join us for seven  three hour sessions, exploring your vocal potential with and without text. Contemporary and classic texts.

“How wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul!” Longfellow

Pure voice, vocal maintenance, storytelling, public speaking, audition monologues, text analysis

Cost: 7 (3 hour) sessions: $360
(Earlybird – pay before 30 August 2012 – $320)

Contact Flloyd to enquire.

Flloyd’s work has been influenced by some of the world’s foremost voice and theatre practitioners, including Valerii Galendiev of The Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg, Anna Petrova of the Moscow Art Theatre SchoolKrszysztov MiklasewskiFrankie Armstrong, Kristin Linklater, Harriet Buchan (Roy Hart work), Marcia McCallum, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Ira Seidenstein (Quantum Clown) and Tim Smith (Vocal Alchemy)

“Flloyd is a committed and passionate advocate for the power of the actor. Her knowledge of the literature, theory, practice, and history of the theatre (and of the use of the voice in particular) is deep and comprehensive. Working with Flloyd is like hanging out with an old and dearly loved friend, a friend who will help you to improve and inspire you to greater creativity with laughter and a fierce love of the art form.” John Graham

“Flloyd is a fantastic actress and director… which naturally lends its way to her being a brilliant teacher. I’ve worked with Flloyd as a director first, then I had the opportunity to share the stage with her! But I mostly loved working with her as a student through her Archetypes and Being in Voice classes. She encourages you to explore your imagination through movement and voice. She actually pulls your voice inside out so that you are not only using your “voice”, but the voice within that wants to rise to the surface! I miss her and her classes, very much and only wish I could steal her away from Brissy, and permanently place her in Houston, Texas!”  Lyndsay Sweeney


“The penny dropped, and I realised that voice work is not a ‘nice to have’, but the foundation on which is built any hope of connecting with an audience”

“What Flloyd teaches has relevance beyond conventional theatre and acting, it can be applied in so many ways and walks of life”

“I was so impressed with the amount of info covered – the biology, theory, research, a huge range of vocal exercises, and then to integrate this so well with performance, authenticity, playfulness and mindfulness on stage.”

“Thank God for Flloyd and her classes! Inspiring, fun and challenging… I would recommend these classes to any actor”

“If you live in Brisbane join up!! It’s the most fun and beneficial thing an actor can do for voice, imagination and body!” 

As well as vocal function, and vocal maintenance, we will explore our full vocal range with techniques of lamentation and many different singing techniques. We will also examine how we use our voices to share our inner lives, and to invite others to see the world the way we see it, in the present moment, through a learned text.

At the end of the seven sessions, you will be ready to audition – if that is what you wish to do.

You don’t need to be an experienced actor, or a singer, to benefit from and enjoy this work. On the other hand, professional actors, singers and voice users will find the work refreshing and invigorating.

I have just had the weirdest experience, where two worlds appear to have collided, and changed places in the universe.

The two worlds are those of theatre practice and theory of theatre.  They are mythical worlds, because only those individuals who try to maintain that they are, indeed, pure or separate or totally independent of each other actually believe that they exist. I was one of them once, as a practitioner, before I embarked upon my own academic research project and began to understand something of the value of theoretical scholarship. But it is fair to say that there are still many academic theorists who have little understanding of the nature of actual, on the shop floor, theatre practice, and many theatre practitioners cling to a deep skepticism of the work of academics.

This past week, Brisbane was home to the annual conference of the Australasian Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Association (ADSA), the organization that supports those in tertiary education who teach and research and write in scholarly journals about such matters. This was my third ADSA conference in six years. I attended two sessions, and ran a workshop, and I was astonished at the vibrancy of the presentations, the depth of the insights into specific examples of current theatre practice, the rigour of the self reflections by practitioner/researchers of their own practice, and the entertaining style of the presentations.  It was revelatory, not just in the sense that new ideas were offered, and old ones busted, but that a new wave of academics has burst upon the scene who know what they are talking about when it comes to theatre practice.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I went to the theatre tonight, and saw on stage a new play that is not so much a play, as an exposition of a theory of performance, a methodological exegesis of an idea of theatre. I apologise for the gratuitous big words, there is no excuse for using big words just to demonstrate that I have a university degree. In the above context, they mean absolutely nothing, so you are not missing anything. In the same way, presenting meta-theatre as theatre means absolutely nothing, so the play I saw tonight was largely, in effect if not in fact, nothing.

Now, you might be forgiven for thinking I am just a wee bit grumpy about this.  And you’d be right. I happen to think theatre has a very important role to play in sustaining, if not enhancing a cohesive society. It does this by offering a community of individuals the opportunity to experience, together, ways of reflecting upon their own lives, of examining and challenging their assumptions and prejudices, of imagining fantastical extensions of their lives and experiences, by exposing them to unfamiliar ways of being human, and doing all this in enjoyable and stimulating ways.  This requires skillful practitioners, capable of working collaboratively, imaginatively and usually with very limited resources.

I’m not grumpy with the people involved. The writer Anna McGahan (who is also the actor Anna McGahan) and director Melanie Wild have attempted something very ambitious, a play about an impending revolution with multiple characters and several underlying themes, all deserving of our attention. The actors Norman Doyle and Katy Curtain create those characters with skill and varying degrees of complexity. The design team provide exciting visual elements to stimulate the senses. The problem, for an audience member, is that there is no clarity of purpose, no sense of direction within the play itself, on its own terms, which could give me access to whatever was driving it – apart from the apparent aim of demonstrating how clever its makers could be. I really don’t think that is what they set out to do, but that is how it comes over.  The title is no help at all.  The writer’s “playwright’s note” in the program talks about “why people touch” and “what we gain, and what we lose, when we let somebody touch us”. But apart from the fact that the two actors never (or hardly ever, I can’t swear that they never) touch, this is not a play about touch, or lack of touch. There are no insights or revelations or even explorations about the nature of touch, or how people are affected by the lack of human contact.  There is nothing in this production that actually touches the audience either, in a physical or metaphorical sense, apart from the courage of the performers in being there at all, and the clever visual elements.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the theatre with the primary aim of being impressed by clever writing, or clever directing, or clever visuals or even clever acting.  I go to experience life as I understand it to exist, through somebody else’s eyes and experience. I go to be moved, touched, inspired, appalled, shocked, entertained, amused, aroused, and lots of other words starting with a.  I don’t go to be insulted, humiliated, degraded or derided or patronised.  When even one of those things happens, I get grumpy.

You can read my review of He’s Seeing Other People Now (Metro Arts until July 21) over at www.criticalmassblog.net.

When Thoughts Collide

Since sending out the flyers, newsletters and emails promoting the new workshop, “Shakespeare’s Archetypes”, I been thinking. This is too important, and too much fun to limit to a two day workshop.  So I have devised a new and cunning plan (to quote Baldrick).

My plan is to call for Expressions of Interest.  Anyone who is interested in doing this workshop is invited to send me their cv and availability.  As soon as there are 6 people ready and willing at the same time, we’ll do it. But be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted. The only way to create theatre that is exciting and dangerous is to take risks. In order to do that, we need a structure we can trust, and that is what this workshop is for.

 

Archetypes are ways of being human. These exercises allow us to explore the many sides of our own, individual humanity, and how this is expressed physically, vocally by our bodies. Working with cue scripts (individual part scripts with three word cues) is almost on a par with bungee-jumping for sheer terror, but it is also enormously rewarding when you get the hang (oops, no pun intended) of it.

If you can’t wait, though, and you’d like to learn more about these techniques, either to enhance your own performance practice, or to explore new ways to introduce students to Shakespeare, let me know anyway. We’ll work it out.

    

The images on this page are from the Archetypes Workshop I conducted at Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona April 2011.  Participants are Graduate Students (Master of Fine Arts). Notice how their physical presence, the way they use, and exist in their bodies, shifts from image to image.

!Extreme Shakespeare!

I had an idea for a workshop, then I had another idea and the collision – or was it collusion? – resulted in “Shakespeare’s Archetypes”, a two day fully immersive program that involves playing with a number of different Archetypes, while experimenting with some of the Original Shakespeare Co’s “rules of the game”.

That seemed like a pretty good plan, but this morning two more thoughts crashed into each other inside my brain (or maybe my heart) and the result is “Extreme Shakespeare”. Thought No 1 was a reaction to Casus‘s beautiful show, Knee Deep, at the Judy last week.  The four performers are technically superb, and because of the way they work together, subtly caring and daring at the same time, they are able to execute some of the most exciting, dangerous moves I’ve seen on stage.

Thought No 2 was a reaction to the National Theatre (of Great Britain)’s production of “Frankenstein“, which I saw at the Dendy Portside yesterday afternoon.  Benedick Cumberbatch played the Monster, with Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein.  It is totally inspiring, not just because of Danny Boyle’s wonderfully imaginative staging or Nick Dear’s fine script, but because the actors are central, the acting is central, and they inject the script with so much passion and power that it totally ceases to BE a script, and emerges – as it should – as the very life and soul of the people who speak it.

I Want That!

So, be warned. This workshop will be challenging and demanding.  Not for wimps. It will start at 9.30 am in the morning, and keep going (with coffee/tea and meal breaks) till 9.30 pm at night. For two whole days.  That is 23 hours of intense training-cum-acting, more than some people spend rehearsing a full production.  Maybe at the end we will have a full production.  I doubt it, because I want More Than That!  I want great theatre, with great performers working together to create it. No stars. No celebrities. Just fantastic actors.

If you want that too, and you live anywhere within Southern Queensland, let me know.  The dates are negotiable. If I can find a venue with living accommodation, we can sleep over as well. So no travelling home late at night, and back first thing Sunday morning.  Perfect.

Flloyd

 

Thinking Cooling Thoughts

Winter is definitely here, even though anyone from northern Europe might be forgiven for thinking it’s just a mild summer. But it’s cold enough to warrant a hot water bottle for my feet at night, and to get me treading the treadmill to warm them up during the day.

Now that the Voice Class (Term 2) has finished, and my thesis handed down, my thoughts are turning to all the possible projects I can dream up, and there are many of them.  It is vital, therefore, that I keep a cool head!

I’m planning a rather exciting workshop for next month, details will follow soon.  Registered Being in Voice members receive their promised advance notification today, and the page will go live on this site in a day or two.  If you really cannot wait, shoot me an email to express your interest.

There are also plans afoot for the next episode in the trials and tribulations of Dame June Bloom, Fringe Festival projects, and quite a few ideas for writing projects blowing in the wind.

I’d better get on with them!