Refreshed, regenerated and revived

Just back from a three week trip to Dunedin, NZ, where I got to teach the University of Otago Voice and Movement paper (class), and the Shakespeare Performance paper, run an Archetypes Workshop, and direct one of the three 40 minute productions for the SGCNZ NSSP week. That’s Shakespeare Globe Centre, New Zealand National Shakespeare Schools Production week. What. A. Blast!

Here is my team, The Winter’s Tale company, but where is Mote? (He was busy packing to go home when we took the photo). So, here are some snapshots of the Snapshots exercise the groups undertook as one of the other director’s (Damian Bertanees) workshops, presenting images from the story – including Mote. But where were the others? Never mind, they are all there one way or another!

feedback session sans Mote

There is no truth in the Oracle!

Exit, pursued by a bear

I haven’t had such a good time in a workshop situation for a very long time, and I DO enjoy workshops. This one, however, had that special quality that only comes along once in a blue moon, where the passion and commitment is at such a high level that the work seems to transcend the individual talents, or energies of those involved.  I hope to get a copy of the dvd of the final performances at some stage.

Now I’m back in Brisbane, working with my lovely private students, some heading for NIDA and WAAPA auditions, some working their way back into commercial voice-over work, all exploring new ways of expressing themselves that take them out of their comfort zone into a wider, broader, deeper understanding of who they are, and why they have a passion to share their understanding of the world with others. What a journey!

I also had the honour of providing a voice-over for Dr Glam’s latest epic collaboration with The Magnolia Corporation, “Interstellar Overdrive”. Check it out here.

recording voice-over for Sparkles

I’m now about to begin rehearsals for my play “The Fall of June Bloom (or What You Will)”, to be presented by Thunder’s Mouth Theatre in November. More details here!

Flloyd Kennedy has invited you to 'The Fall of June Bloom – or What You Will' on IndieGoGo

Hello from IndieGoGo!

Flloyd Kennedy (info@thundersmouththeatre.com) has invited you to ‘The Fall of June Bloom – or What You Will’: http://www.indiegogo.com/June-Bloom?a=34419&i=invt&key=bXNvC9Jq

Personal message from Flloyd Kennedy:

Flloyd here, writing to let you know about ‘The Fall of June Bloom – or What You Will’

Take a moment to check it out on IndieGoGo and share it with your friends. You can fund creative projects and get VIP perks. You can get insider updates and even request the project have an event in your area too. If enough of us get behind it, we can make ‘The Fall of June Bloom – or What You Will’ happen.

Cheers!

The IndieGoGo Team

Vocal Function Handout

My apologies to all those who tried to download the Vocal Function Exercises handout – I completely forgot that I was revising it, and hadn’t actually uploaded it. But it’s there now, fresh as a daisy, you are welcome and I hope you do them EVERY DAY!

Oh alright, every second day then…

Happy sounding!

The Nature of Presence

Presence is that wonderful quality we so admire in great performers. It exerts a powerful attraction over us, keeps us attentive and engaged in their company,

Presence is the act of being actively and completely present, mindfully aware of where you are and why you are there, conscious of your surroundings, both real and imagined. That means being present in the body, in the mind, in the heart – and in the voice.

Presence resides in the body, as the first impulse to express yourself necessitates the presence of breath, the activation of the vocal instrument, and access to the conventions of language.

Or maybe not! Perhaps an unregulated, non-conventional, non-linguistic sound is all that is required: a gasp, a groan, a grunt or a giggle.

Whatever the sound you make, when it comes from a relaxed yet alert physicality, informed by a playful creativity and a passionate heart, and with mindful awareness of the situation, there is Presence.

The Sound of Quality

How do you describe a performance that absolutely rocks?  The kind that picks you up by the scruff of the neck from the moment the performers appear before you, and keeps you engaged till the bows at the end?  They don’t come around all that often, so you won’t find any University courses that only ask you to deal with performances of this calibre.  Whether you are studying Theatre Studies, or Performance Studies,  when they send you out to attend theatre performances so that you can analyse them, you won’t be asked to write assignments accounting for the over-arching strategies that resulted in such fine work.  You’ll be asked to comment on different elements – for example, the lighting, the use of the space, the director’s vision – and you’ll be asked to explain what was done, and how.

The result of this kind of education in theatre arts has the effect of denying that there are qualitative differences between productions, and between methods of using the various elements.  I’m not saying that these courses should only be training theatre critics, I am proposing that critical rigour should be an element of the training.

Imagine a literature course that expected its students to read any three books published in a given period, with no idea as to whether the books concerned were well written or not.  Even limiting it to books by certain authors, or from certain publishing houses is no guarantee of quality.

But as I said, there just isn’t a lot of really finely made theatre around, so you couldn’t expect the theatre/performance/drama 101 courses to wait until there were enough excellent productions available to study.

And perhaps this accounts for the fact that theatre text books, and journal articles about theatre productions can talk about shows that were, frankly, pretty poor, analysing their socks off without a hint that there was just nothing better to talk about.

And perhaps this is why we don’t seem to have a formal terminology to discuss different qualities of work. Or to be able to say when, and how a performance DID hit the mark, and what bits of it did not.

And there’s no use arguing that such things are ‘subjective’, because all observations are necessarily subjective. I might argue that the lighting effects at one moment created an atmosphere of fear, and you might argue that it created a calming effect. The marker would credit us both, because we noticed the lighting effect.

How do we describe the lighting effect that was so effective that we didn’t notice it?

Or how do we describe the acting that was so sublime that we didn’t notice the voices providing us with the language of the text?

Just asking…