Mischa Baka: Anna McCrossin-Owen
Showing posts with label Anna McCrossin-Owen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anna McCrossin-Owen. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2018

Effective communication and presentation skills workshop.

June 18, 2018 0
Effective communication and presentation skills workshop.

Using actor training strategies, Rinske Ginsberg and Anna McCrossin-Owen offer the opportunity to experience powerful and fundamental vocal and physical techniques. Learning is delivered in an experimental / active participation format allowing you to discover your own communication strengths and identify unconscious or habitual practices.

The first day of this workshop was everything it promised to be and more. I had listened to Rinski the night before on a podcast. I liked her wisdom, clarity and humour.
The exercises that resonated with me:
Game: Moving around the room and following directions; Walk, stand, clap, jump, name and dance. Each direction is introduced over time in sets of two. With each set the meaning is eventually reversed, so that Walk means Stand and stand means walk and so on.
Trying to follow the inverted directions was challenging. Rinksi warmly laughed out our strange mannerisms that arose as we made mistakes, fumbled and quickly corrected ourselves. It was a good way to uncover awkward moments as the body tries to catch up with the right action, but also a  way to become comfortable with making mistakes, becoming aware, but not critical. 


This image is not from the workshop, but represents its style. Taken from dance workshop with Rebekah Stuart. 




Game: The class makes an audience before the door. Each participant takes it in turns to enter through the door into the space and introduce themselves, Hello, Im Mischa Baka and Im pleased to be here.
Before entering the participant must choose to present themselves as portraying a certain level of status relative to the space and the audience. 1, was described by Rinske as not even entering the room. 2. Performed by Rinske as an example, was, shy, anxious and afraid. 5. Is natural, or equal to the space. 9. Is high status and dominating the space.
The beauty of this game was guessing each person’s status after their entrance and describing what signalled that status. We discussed what physical and vocal language informed the stutus of each participant. The task provided insight into personal mannerisms and habits of relating. Mannerisms that weren’t necessarily bad or good, but we were learning how to be aware of them, so that we could have more control over the power they posess.  


A simple tilt of a woman’s head made her endearing with a look of love.  Walking quickly and talking as soon as entering gave a sense of anxiety and lowered the status. Interestingly, playing bold, strong and high status sometimes gave the impression of being insecure.
Anna McCrossin-Owen shared a series of paragraphs that target different sounds in our speech and help understand what parts of our body struggle when making speech. With Annas observations and feedback I found that relaxing my lips helped me deliver the final paragraph.
Anna McCrossin-Owen had us present our research and vary qualities in our delivery; speed, loudness, pauses and liveliness. We listened and Provided feedback to each others presentation and suggested just one quality to be improved. This was a successful way to help each other without providing overwhelming feedback. We found ( As Anna intended) that often just one quality offered as feedback would help improve various aspects of delivery. The simple feedback allowed complex development to branch out.

Anna McCrossin-Owen used the concept of Cirlcles of presence to define a feeling of being present when performing. A concept taken form Patsy Rodenburg. In brief we presented our research to ourselves ( first circle)  to the universe ( third circle) and then  we found the second circle between the two that has us connect to the people around us with presence.

I found that I lean more towards the first circle, often presenting to myself, talking to myself. This helped understand where I needed to take my delivery.  

Anna McCrossin-Owen had me hold a heavy bag straight over my head and present my research. This had me standing very straight. A magic thing happened, my voice was clear, resonant and I felt connected to the people listening to me. Feedback from the group made it clear that they also felt connected. On reflection with Anna and the group I descried how the heavy bag prevented my body from collapsing into any mannerisms that help me shy away from the group or hide in my posture. I was straight, open and clear. This was a revelation. It brought me out of the first circle.  

The class ended with a relaxation on the floor and I felt very grateful for what these amazing and generous teachers had shared with me and the group.

Day 2

The idea we kept coming back to was to develop an awareness of our habitual and natural ways of behaving and performing so that rather than perform unconsciously, we may be conscious of our behaviour and make it work for us.

Today we presented some of our research to the group. Working with Anna and Rinske you feel the depth of their knowledge when receiving feedback. They know small suggestions and observations that speak to much larger and complex systems of behaviour. For instance, simply asking me to perform with one hand in my pocket was key in shifting my energy away from the ceiling and grounding my presentation. Bringing my performance back down to ‘second circle’ with the group. These type of small but powerful observations and suggestions were offered to everyone in the group. Anna and Rinske have such a soft and strong energy, you feel safe and assured in their company. I thought of the cliché drama school teacher who might ‘ break’ their students for the sake of their development, and thought how unlike Anna and Rinske.
They have a beautiful understanding of habits, mannerisms and behaviour as not being good or bad, but simply a quality that can be mediated and balanced with other qualities. This meant that it was hard to feel judged or attacked. There feedback just felt insightful.

Much of the work offered insight by exploring the other side of a quality, be it slow, fast, loud, soft, forward backward, high low. The expertise of Anna and Rinske connected these qualities with emotional, communicative language, so we knew what we were shifting in our behaviour. These qualities felt so simple and yet spoke to complex modes of behaviour in the body and voice.  

GAME: I loved one game at the beginning of class that had the group send energy around the circle int the form of, lust and excitement. A chain reaction formed that was thrilling and intoxicating.