The Russian Way

Here is the Russian tongue twister, as promised:

Na m(y)eli mwe nalima

Len(y)ivoh lavili

It would be great if you could learn both lines…

And the other one, the bouncy one:


Copper plated kettle

and for the really ambitious, there’s a second part which goes

Hippopotamus and Mississippi River!

See you Sunday, in the basement again.

Catching Up

Just a reminder, class continues until – and including – 15th June.

The new class begins on 13th July, and runs for 8 sessions.

For those of you who couldn’t make it today, we discovered a new variation warming up the voice-in-the-body exercise:

After thoroughly warming up via Core Mechanics and the full-body stretches and floor work, plus a bit of Fitzmaurice scrunching and tremoring on the floor, we worked with the image of the centre filling with sound from the well of sighs. The centre encompassed that part of the body nestling between pelvis and diaphragm, and between the small of the back leaning into the floor and the top of the belly – a lovely large area to play with, and to fill with sound. When full, we let the sound flood downwards, but actually flowing upwards through the thighs, through the knees and then down through the lower legs into the feet, and thence into the floor. With the lower part of the body now full to squishing with sound, we rolled and turned and made our way to standing. Once standing, feeling the weight of the fully sounding lower body pressing into the floor, we let the sound flood upwards through the rest of the body and down the arms.

Next, we opened out to each other from our centres, and shared the ‘mmmaaaa’ sounds with each other, noticing the giving and the receiving of sound. We used the 4, 8 pattern thus:

Mmmaaaaaa mmmaaaaaa mmmmaaaaaaaa mmmmmaaaaaa

ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma

nnnnnaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaaaaa nnnnnaaaaaaaaaa

na na na na na na na na

rrrrraaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaaa rrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaa

ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra

ssssssssss ssssssssssss ssssssssssssss sssssssssssssssss

ss ss ss ss ss ss ss ss

shshshshsh shshshshshsh shshshshshsh shshshshshshshsh

sh sh sh sh sh sh sh sh


Then we turned it into a version using





We worked with the notion of giving specifically to one, or to another, sometimes one sequence of sounds, sometimes a group of sounds to the same person, trying to catch ourselves losing energy, or focus in between, and noticing how much more fun it was to keep the energy up between each section, to always have somewhere to put it.

We also worked some more with Practical Aesthetics, and clarified the difference between those aspects which are relevant to the character, and those which are relevant to the actor.

To put it briefly: The literal translation of the moments, the literal sentence describing the beat, and the want, are all about the character. The want should give you some ideas for Actions, but the Actions and the As If’s are to do with you, the actor, the person who happens to be playing the role. But they are NOT derived from, or interpreting, or playing with the scene.

The Character wants something from the other character/s.

This is like getting someone to do x

Getting someone to do x is

As if I were getting someone specific in my life to do some specific thing in real life, which hasn’t happened yet, but could, and it excites me to think I could actually get them to do it, so I am going to GET them to do it.

Playing with the As If is NOT playing the scene.

If you can learn to trust the process to this stage, you are ready to discover what happens in the scene, but before this discovery can happen, you must let go of trying to play the scene. Instead, you play your As If, and the scene plays itself.

Too Easy! (Joking…) Actually, it is easy, or at least easier than you think. It’s not multi-tasking at all, it’s doing one thing at a time, i.e. going for your cap.

N.B. I did not say ‘getting your cap’, I said ‘going for your cap’.

Compare this with working with Archetypes. You manifest Archetype qualities, knowing that you will never, ever ‘be’ the Archetype. You play with the qualities in your body, you let the qualities play you. You stay clearly focussed on the Archetype, knowing that you will touch upon it, and then lose it, and then aim for it again, and again, and again….

See you Sunday


Some Archetype Players

Today we met The Huntress, whose mantra “I am very strong” can be empowering, and challenging! It’s important to remember that, like any text, the words only need mean what they say as you say them. If you think about it this way, you don’t need to be ‘strong’, for an hour or even a minute. You just need to give yourself permission to be strong – whatever that may mean – as you say the word. Watch the video, and listen.



A kind of Magic

Jean Marc’s comment on yesterday’s class:  “as to the process … it just mystifies me … a sort of magic!” remind me of the old saying about good luck, how it seems to happen more to people who work hard.   Yes, acting that is alive and exciting and involving for both performer and audience does seem to come about as if by magic.  But we know how much work has to go in to getting it to that stage.  What is really important is the kind of work, and I am so pleased to see you all engaging with such commitment to the different tools and techniques I’m spreading in your path.

Yesterday, after a very thorough warm-up through the training exercises, we approached our text work first as words on the page – which they undoubtedly are – then as words which actually meant something very specific to each of us, by exploring the literal meanings of the words and phrases themselves – and finally as sounds expressing something from within.  That ‘something’ was not nothing, it was what the words meant, informed by your personal physicality and focus at the point of speaking.  And sometimes, as if by magic, it felt like – what? ‘Just’ saying the words?  Oh my, what a world of humanity there can be in a ‘just’, when the preparation has been done.

See you next week!