- Launch project
Here are my latestest blog posts. At the moment I am currently blogging about my final major project for my Masters in 21st Century Media Pracitice. For all of my blog posts hit “Read More”
So this is my final post and reflective blog on my experience
The above video is of Natasha Tsakos who is a a pioneer in theatre performance integrating technology with live performance. She speaks passionately about her field and the possibilites for human experience through theatre. When I watched this video is was a moment of YES! She finds it difficult to explain what she does, but when she performs people understand. Her future philosophies on what the human experience can be in the 21st century is of a similar thought. It is evolutiontionary and a a 21st centruy technium is happening.
It is difficult to explain and its only when you show someone a video or picture do they start to see some of the world that I have been living in.
This project is more than just a group of people using a big skype screen or a portal to another world.
It’s immersive in every essence. The reality that you knew, changes the moment you immerse yourself within the theatre and the screen. The inward, sensory, and psychophysical journey that I have been on I can’t describe in words.
“Though she be but little, she is fierce”- W.Shakespeare. I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since we got back. And I’ve got King Lear & Finnish blues. This picture of building trust in yourself and one another, gives me the motivation to get this …
Mistä olet kotoisin?
Where are you from?
Magical and ethereal and in some way, has a drop back of elven woods from middle earth. It is the extremes of light and dark, Freezing, snowy magical winters, with blissful long summers, with a double day. And in winter the northern lights can be seen dancing in the skies.
The land of a thousands lakes, well specifically thats 187,888 in total. There are around 179, 584 islands approx. 100,000 of these are located in these lakes. It is a place where you may just believe, that you could possibly bump into a troll or a wisp in the woods.
Finland may only be a 100 years old in terms of independence and in its time, surrounding countries have fought over the land. The people have a close relationship with this land. Much of that relationship is reflected in poetry such as the Kalevala, folklore & song.
A liberal and equal country now, but it took many artists and creatives to assist with the culture and identity change. The Cambridge history of Theatre (2010) describes Finnish theatre as “retelling of the story of the national awakening. The threat from foreign imperialism and eventually victory through political independence.”
Finland produced artist and writer Tove Jasson, who if you have ever read the Moomins, lived in Moomin valley, somewhere in Finland.
And then there is also ‘Tom of Finland’. An artist who completely challenged the status quo for homo-erotica art and very much set a president of identity for the gay community, not only in Finland but around the world. When I look at his art, I can see Freddy Mercury.
This is a brief introduction into what Finland is about. I have only touched the surface. But I know that its a place that I love. The clean air, the water, they mystery and magica. The calmness, tranquility, the extremes and quiet emptiness. In the Words of the Monty Python song “Finland Finland the country I want to be, Finland has it all”…
“An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes”.
There is a stereotype that Finns are reserved…. Well lets just say thats not true in my experience. I would just say that they have a special attitude and use of words. They are selective. And then you have the ‘Finnish word’, meaning that when things are said, they are meant. Meaning face value is, face value There is a Finnish proverb “Take a man by his words and a bull by its horns”
Chit-chat is small, but the Finns once they get to know you. Have this dark sense of humour, that is witty and to the point and incredibly dry..
“Be the centre of your storm”
The Storm, a word which has so many metaphors. Not only in the Play of King Lear, where Lear looses his mind, but in other forms of literature. T
Twain relinquished that “weather is necessary to a narrative of human experience.” And Shakespeare told us- “minded like the weather’. Lear is likeminded and chaotic like the storm. And in essence, these two writers are reflecting what all humans can feel internally.
This was the final day of using the screen for a warm up class;: Yoga
Dr Tiina Syrja, is a Senior Lecturer in Acting at University of Tampere. Tiina is a speech therapist, yoga teacher, vocologist and is a teacher of the Alexander technique. I touched upon the Alexander technique in my previous blog “Embodiment, Mindfulness & Movement: Part 1”
The Alexander techniques was designed by F.M Alexander. He was an Australian actor who reflected and observed his human function. B.Rosenburgh 2008 describes Alexanders research Including body expression, posture, voice and body balance. By analysing and observing himself he discovered that through muscular interference he had not been using his body in the best way. He discovered that the tensions he was experiencing, were not always immediately felt but built up to a sensory value. The methods he developed used systems within movement and body, that coordinated the distribution of the psychophysical process, starting with the head.
“For real human beings, the only realism is an embodied realism.”
― George Lakoff
Embodiment? That word….. a word that is flown around, especially where I work… If I am completely honest, until this project i really just didn’t get it. I had become disconnected with myself. However I was never someone who just threw the idea off… I wanted to understand what it meant, and really what it felt like.. I had lost the meaning of the word.
In a concrete representation of this word, some may say that life and its concept is represented by a circle. That is physical, that can be drawn shown and seen… this is what comes up when you google it off dictionary.com but then there is the other embodiment.
That other embodiment …..
What is ’embodiment’ when we consider it within an abstract context?
How does it feed the soul? That human experience that feeds some state of your own consciousness? Surely the incarnation of an experience will somehow attribute, to the embodiment of the human experience and surely would make us more human and for a happier and healthier society?
In order to to be fully embodied for an actor, there has to be a level of mindfulness in performance. And in order for that actor to be embodied, the process an actor would go through is vast, and then they would approach a particular or series of method. It may be done in through varying types of practice such as Meditation, Yoga and Martial Arts.
“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” ~Sylvia Boorstein
Many of the methods and process that Tiina & Mikko are psychophysical in practices and body within theatre. Cis.Rit.Edu , 2017, describe psychophysical as the scientific study of the stimuli (which is a physical term) and the perceptions and sensations that are evoked by this stimuli.
Dr Mikko is a practitioner of Asahi Health which is a combination of the basis of Eastern health practices such as Tai-Chi, but movements are based on Western medicine and physical education. One of the basic goals was to enhance peoples mobility & health. The programme was developed by a group of professional in fitness and martial arts, their names respectively are; Ilpo Jalamo, Timo Klemola, Keijo Mikkonen and Yrjö Mähönen . The approaches developed were to enhance and promote positive effects, on overall well being for those who practice it.
The Second Sister of sound was a lady called Sam ‘Frankie’ Fox, who is a performance artist and is part of the KILN Theatre Company, Birmingham.
The ensemble is collaboration between a wide range of artists, that through a ‘collision of art forms they create original material that is lit with imagination , playful and focus is on the audience experience. I had only ever heard of the KILN theatre, but had never seen one of their performance.
Tom on the other hand, has known Sam for a while amongst the Theatre scene. That morning in the theatre as we both pulled in at 7:30 am, it was a time to prepare for what day had planned. This was my brief of what and who to expect…. and by the end of what he had shown me on Youtube, I could see why Tom had asked Sam to come and teach, especially after working with Soila the previous morning.
What Sam was bringing to the table, complemented, added another layer and by the end of the session I could see the linking of human experience, embodiment & performance.
Sams describes her performances with KILN productions, as hitting the audiences in the ‘heart, head and gutt. The performances seem immersive for the audience members and specifically ‘The Furies’ production.Audience members enter more of a gig than a theatre. It is playing with performance in a different way, to remove the audience member out of their comfort zone and displace them sensory, so that envokes something else within the self.
…”People speak many different languages from all over the world, but music is their common ground. “… Charles Hazel-Wood ( Conductor- BBC Proms- Human Planet)
Actors when in training have to be centred both in the mind, body and voice. It is an understanding of the human psyche, the concept within the role which is ultimately built upon the range of human experiences through body, sensorium, mind, emotion intuition & spirit (M. Fortier, Theory/Theatre an introduction 2016)
Throughout the week of rehearsals, each morning would consist of a type of body movement or vocal class. It would centre around the use of the body being used as an instrument. When we think of the body, we think of the physical form, but what about the voice, and the existential projection that most humans possess. Language is one form of communication, but we cannot always connect in this way, yet Charles Hazel-Wood states, it is music that is our common ground.
Yet to understand Music, we really have to understand sound… And this first place is within ourselves and the vocal range that the human can possess, if he channels it beyond the vocal chords.
These experimentations of creating sounds with the body began with the first session with Soila Sarola. A professional Alto singer and is a graduate specialising in Finnish folk music, where the voice is the main instrument. She is one of the members of the Finnish six-voice a cappella ensemble Rajaton, a Finnish word for ‘boundless’ and has released over 16 albums with the group. Soila also composes music scores for choirs and is a graduate of Finnish Folk Music.
“Anyone can lecture from the butt, only very few can act.”
― Pawan Mishra,
So Monday came and the drum roll began. The whole week of a technical set-up was the walk up the aisle to finally beginning this process of using telepresence as a technical form, to rehearse William Shakespeare’- King Lear (1604-1606). The students had been given their roles, scenes and acts. They had informally met through Facebook, however they were about to check into ‘Adobe Connect’. Whereby they would be given the bedrock knowledge and history of Shakespeare.
This was the Kickstart lecture, the day that the students would participate in an ‘Adobe Connect’ room. Whereby Tom could deliver his 2 hour lecture on the subject of Shakespearean theatre. In a normal situation a lecture would be in a classroom, directing this information outwardly.
‘Adobe connect’ is a conferencing software, that enables a multiple layered method to teach within a virtual space. This virtual space is essentially your classroom, whereby you can discuss and share content, videos and ask questions.
It gives another form of communication that is not normally seen within a lecture room or a classroom. Whereby information is given, but the investment sometimes will not be received back. There is participatory culture, respect and less of ‘lecture’ form, whereby the investment of knowledge can be measured back, through the engagement and participation, that is visual and more intimate.
Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement.
“In jest, there is truth.”
― William Shakespeare,
You remember when Dorothy went to the ‘Land of OZ’, or when Alice fell down that rabbit hole?……
Yeah. Well that has just happened to me.
I have been exploring the world of Immersive Telepresence in Theatre, using visual immersive anthropology techniques and this is just a summary of what I encountered and felt this week….
While lost in the madness of Lear.
I find myself meeting two groups of Theatre students, that are rehearsing Shakespeare’s: King Lear. Rehearsals take place over a telepresence screen and a window of communication is opened between two countries that are 1554.6KM apart.
This happened between students from the University of Tampere, Finland & Coventry University, UK.
But it is so much more than this…..
21st Century Narrative Forms- Reflective.
This process has been one that has been surprising, challenging and has made me reconsider writing methods for script, the production processes. How to generate ideas, subplots & characters. Their feeling, thought, wants and ambitions. How to make it original? And what does it reflect?
What I have gained from the M103MC module has been one of creating a generating fresh ideas, collaborating with an that idea of how another person may see it in their minds-eye, e.g-director from above the script writers idea. It has made me learn to not be to precious with your ideas and to some extent it has made me question the ‘originality’ of narratives. I haven’t done a script writing module since my undergraduate 12 years ago. I understand how to read scripts, however creating my own stories and script, to be honest was quite a daunting task.
The assignment was to create a 10 minute short film that each student would create, followed by a vote of creating a specific one and then working in teams to produce a short film.