Day One.


Wow, what a day!  I’m tired.

I was up quite early this morning, before anything was going on. I went to the pool in the Sally Borden Building to swim and relax a little before everything was to get started.  Swam, showered, and went to breakfast.  As I was eating,  the other participants started to trickle in.  (The food here is something else, by the way, buffets with more kinds of food than you could ever try in a day.)  Eating meals here are almost as important as the work we’re doing- making friends, making connections, sharing ideas and information, getting to know each other as individuals, and a a group.  There are a few participants who know each other, including a group of 5 or so from Regina.  I am impressed with the way that we are not letting this affect us negatively as a group, that everyone is making a point to talk to everyone else.  We are doing a lot of group exercises and everyone is willingly shaking it up, pairing with people they haven’t really paired with before.

Ok, the Intensive.  So, activities officially start at 9:30, with a yoga style warm up. (So much happened today, I’m not sure I can remember.  It feels like a week has gone by already… and it’s been maybe 28 hours.)  We did some exercises in grounded-ness, using our posture and focus to really ground ourselves, enabling us to do some things we weren’t as adept at just a minute before. We talked about chi, energy, and the relationship between us as performers and audience, how that relates to energy and feeling.  We implemented a few types of rituals, signifying work time and focus.  We did a sort of movement pattern to music (not a dance so-to-speak), but a pattern to get us to focus our chi and blend as a group.  It was a little intense, but strangely calming.

Then, lunch. Eat, a few minutes to do whatever you needed to do, and then back to the movement studio.  We played a couple of games, 4 square, and Blind Death, and then sort of analysed the experience with how it might relate to theatre.  We thought about what engaged and bored us, and how we responded to eachother’s cues.  We talked a little about the sorts of narratives that sort of naturally appear.  We talked about tension and how nothing happening can create anticipation.  We talked about setting a framework, how that can give us a place to start from and get going, more than starting from no rules.  (This is something that I’ve been learning more recently in my own process as well.)  We talked about conflict, competition, and challenge.

After the games and the discussion, we had an assignment: to invent a game.  We had a little more than an hour to invent a game, in our little groups of five.  All of the groups came up with something, and all seem happy with it, and we will play them all.  (Maybe I will publish the rules of our game later.)  After supper, we did play one of the group’s game- Deer in the Headlights, a type of Red Light Green Light in a completely dark studio with a flashlight.  It was fun, and it actually worked pretty well.

Going back downstairs into the making studio, we discussed the process of collaborating to come up with a game idea and rules.  Their were some weird commonalities with it, such as groups saying that they often had to cut their crazy ideas back for simplicity’s sake, going back to Square One.  After this discussion, we pulled out the puppets we had brought- such a lovely assortment of characters and styles.  Not one of the puppets (which wasn’t some sort of a set) was anything like any of the others.  One of the memorable ones for me was Rob’s little performance about a dead hen, a bird he had made, full with skeleton, to be systematically dismantled and put back together.  I am quite intrigued by this, as it definitely relates to my own work.

Our open studio assignment for the night, working in pair, something to start on, was to make a simple puppet out of paper and tape.  My partner and I have lots of wild ideas about this weird, ghouly, supernatural man who directs your nightmares by going in to your head through your ears…. hopefully I don’t dream about him tonight.

Just before 10:00, the final section of the evening, Appreciation.  Standing in a circle (we did a lot of that today, all 25 of us), Peter mentioned what we needed to be aware of for tomorrow, and we felt appreciative of things that had happened during the day.  It was a nice way to sort of hit the highlights, a nice closing to the day.  Finally, before we were officially done for the day, we learned and sang a pretty little african song, that I’m sad that I know I won’t remember.

Long, wonderful day.  I need to sleep, but then, I’ll be ready to do it again tomorrow.

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