Mischa Baka: Victorian College of the Arts
Showing posts with label Victorian College of the Arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victorian College of the Arts. Show all posts

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Salt Bush Trauma

June 07, 2018 0
Salt Bush Trauma
Today we shared a passage from Jessie Coles ‘ Staying’ ( Page 248) to explore the idea of trauma within a character. We discussed how and what trauma can be and places in the body and environment that can accommodate and hold trauma.

We began a 'Together and Alone' dance series with guest dancer Rebekah Stuart dancing with Mark Wilson. Her energy and capacity to be bold and wild helped model how far the students can go in an abstract way.





When we gave the teen actors scripted text to include in their dance the dialogue came alive with a great sense of movement and choreography.

Rebekah was impressed by how authentic the dialogue sounded and how easily it was taken up by the young actors. All the dancing had paid off in allowing the body to drive the performance over the text/mind.   

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Alone together improvisation with moments embedded.

May 31, 2018 0
Alone together improvisation with moments embedded.


Today we worked with our teenage actors and revisited the ‘ Alone-together’ dance exercise introduced when first meeting the girls. This time the boys became part of the exercise.

This exercise follows a simple trajectory of having participants start alone and come together over the course of a dance to music. It drops the performers into an immediate awareness of the other while they negotiate this coming together. It proves very useful in helping the actors be in the moment responding to each other.






This time we added another element to the exercise. Before a group performed we gave them a very specific posture ( a choreographed tableau) and a line or two, such as:

“ Why do you wear such tight clothes.”

A natural sense of responding to each other and drawing together from the exercise imbues the specific moments with a sense of truth.  

As explained to the teenage actors, this exercise models some of the process we will use to make the film on set. We intend to have broad directions within scenes that govern if their characters are coming together or apart. Within those broad directions improvisation can take place, and within that improvisation we imbed specific lines or actions that define a turning point in a scene, a key dramatic moment, or important feeling.  

This process aims to help promote a sense of realism in a scene by allowing the actors to ‘ dance,’ with each other. When making the film this dance will become more metaphorical, but will still promote an awareness that brings the actors into the present moment.

In one of the exercises we had mark ‘ dance’ with two teenage girls who had a specific tableau. Their tableau presented an intimate image of love and affection. An elaborate story developed out of the improvisation of an adult parent wary of the children’s love affair, and their attempt to hide from his gaze. One of the teenage audience recounted the complexities of this dynamic excitedly.   

Another exercise had two boys and one girl dancing. It demonstrated that drama was present in the simple power imbalance of more boys than girls. This proved a good moment to describe how sometimes drama does not need to be performed, as it is simply present within a dynamic or structure, and as an actor, being present is enough.  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

1st SaltBush Rehearsal.

May 17, 2018 0
1st SaltBush Rehearsal.

Today we brought together all the actors who successfully auditioned for the part of ‘ teenage girl.’ Nine actors ranging from 15 to 17.

Today we established familiarity and how we will be communicating and working during the making of the film.

I began the workshop with a relaxation on the floor that rises up into a dance. I asked the group to move thorough the doorways that arise between each person. I asked the group to listen to their hearts and bodies and to not think too much, or be critical.   

Siobhan and myself each danced with the teenagers.

We played a game of ‘musical sleeping bags’ keeping true to the trekking story of our film.





The girls tumbled, pushed, pulled and wrestled their way into sleeping bags, the physical abandon promoted the performative quallities we are looking for.

An improvised scene had all the girls sleeping in their bags. One student was selected to go without. Her objective was to convince another to give up their bag for her. This worked well. Moment: Convincing a friend to go out into the dark to help pee in the bush, then returning to steal her bag.

Chatting over snacks was important for the group to know and feel comfortable with each other.

Finally, we had pairs of two perform for the group. The instruction was to dance Separate and find a sense of coming together within the dance.

The group could see how coming together was achieved through body language, eye contact and positioning.

Siobhan and me described how charting coming together, moving apart and back together again can provide structure for a scene, and how we will use this concept and language to direct a scenes shape.  

I always feel a bit nervous getting to know people, but I feel this workshop did well to find a sense of ease with the group and establish the tone of how we will be working.

I will take some of the ideas form this workshop and place them into a final draft document to start developing the story.