Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10 Good Reasons to Study Dramatic Movement by George Lewis

10) We tend to tense up in stressful situations, under pressure, on stage. It feels like our hands have become enormous, like everyone is staring at them, and we don´t know where to put them. We can't stand still, feel like we should be doing something, so we shuffle around. Studying dramatic movement helps make us comfortable to be ourselves onstage.

9) And yet, we have to be actually more than we are in life. We must develop an extraordinary presence that will expand all the way out to the back rows of the theatre. Which is where most of our friends are sitting, in the cheap seats, so we owe it to them.

8) We have to be more focused than in ordinary life: we must develop extraordinary focus. Movement training teaches how to focus not only with the eyes, not only with the mind, but with the entire body, the entire being.

7) We must also forge a greater relationship between what goes on inside of us and how it manifests physically. We must be available to being affected by what is going on around us, responsive to our impulses stemming from that, and then free to allow those impulses to manifest fully physically and vocally. If the audience doesn´t see and hear it, it´s not happening theatrically.

6) We must have the athletic/gymnastic/physical abilities to allow these impulses to come out and take us further than we allow ourselves to go in everyday life. We may choose not to go all the way, but that is a choice and not because we are afraid or unable.

5) We must learn to choose and shape the form of our expression. Just because in life we might respond to a given circumstance in a certain way, that does not mean it has to be that way onstage. Instinctual movement often follows learned/aquired patterns. There is no ART in that. Art involves choice. We can learn to play freely with rhythm and shape and flow and energy- with the dynamics of time and spoace. Not just the WHAT but also the HOW of physical action.

4) We must learn to do this all dynamically with the partners, both animate (other characters) and inanimate (props and set)

3) We must learn to play with the dynamics of space and time. Including stillness.

2) We must learn to play freely and fully onstage. To PLAY an action and not just DO it. To find a deep sense of enjoyment in what we do, even if we are playing Othello strangling Desdemona.

1) We have to excite, intrigue, and inspire our audiences to live more fully than they allow themselves. The body does not lie, cannot lie. If we are extraordinarily alive onstage, then we will be doing our job.

Photo above: Freehold's ETI Students studying movement with George Lewis.

George Lewis is a Founding Partner of Freehold and also a Freehold faculty member. He has been working in the field of movement theatre for over 30 years. George will be teaching a Movement Intensive this Summer, 2011. For more information, go to: Movement Intensive

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