What we're about

This group is for those interested in exploring and training in the complementary and mutually supportive concepts, principles and practices of Meisner-based acting technique, Feldenkrais, Action Theatre and verse/heightened language-form text, focussing on Shakespeare, first folio text as the subject matter to work on.

The group´s training events are devised by Kate Hilder (http://katehilder.com/) (Feldenkrais & Action Theatre practitioner and teacher), Danielle Allan (http://bitly.com/danielleallan) (Orginal Shakespeare Company/Patrick Tucker First Folio Shakespeare practitioner and teacher) and Lawrence O´Connor (http://lawrenceoconnor.com) (Meisner-based acting technique practitioner and teacher).

In the Feldenkrais Method students pay attention to how they move. By sensing themselves, noticing physical sensations and using their imagination they develop their curiosity and learn how to move more easily. In my experience, these students are more present when they continue into working with a partner in an acting context. Their mind is quieter and so they have more space to pay attention to their feelings and sensations and therefore are likely to be spontaneous in their actions. They are also more physically expressive as the explorations on the floor have offered them different movement possibilities. They often say that the improvisations with a partner are more fun as they feel effortless - they didn’t have to try to create an interesting moment. Action Theatre is a form of improvised physical theatre. Students respond to their feelings, sensations and imagination with movement, voice and language. They learn how to source characters from their body and expand their physical and vocal expressive range as well as develop their performance presence. This training complements the Meisner Technique as it offers students a sense of freedom and spontaneity and a confidence to experiment and step out of their familiar responses. Meisner-technique
The practises of the technique enable its practitioners to reliably get to depth with themselves, their own emotional truth, to be able to make real contact with their acting partner, and to be able to experience and respond to their acting partner instinctively and intuitively, moment-to-moment.
By incorporating Feldenkrais, they are able to be prepared to be fully present and available to respond intuitively, through their bodies as much as through their words, not limited by self-consciousness and freeing them to able to place their attention their acting partner and to be physically more responsive to them. When we introduce text, it can often create a problem for the performer - they can become enslaved by the words.
Sanford Meisner is quoted as saying ¨words are like the libretto of an opera, it is the emotions that are the music¨.
As part of the technique, we have steps which help the actor work with emotional truth without being inhibited by the words.
However, with verse-based and heightened-language text, and with Shakespeare’s work in particular, there is form which, along with its aesthetic, is often as critical to relaying the meaning of the story being relayed as the text itself.
This can create a problem for the actor who uses the principles of Meisner technique in their work - how to be a craftsman of the form whilst still being a craftsman of the content, of the emotional truth, to be free to respond intuitively moment-to-moment.
To help solve this problem, we have combined the practises of Kate Hilder (http://katehilder.com) (Feldenkrais and Action Theatre), Lawrence O’Connor (http://lawrenceoconnor.com) (Meisner-based acting technique) and Danielle Allan (http://bitly.com/danielleallan) (First Folio Shakespeare)....[1] to provide training to equip the performer with a practical tool kit of technique practises that can be applied when working with the works of Shakespeare in the realities of professional performance in 2015.

“Anyone can improvise with no restrictions, but that’s not jazz.”
Wyston Marsalis

[1]Inspired by the work of The Original Shakespeare Company (led by Patrick Tucker), Danielle coaches actors in finding the vivid acting clues contained within the original First Folio text and to use these clues to communicate – to the audience and to fellow performers - the meaning of the text with clarity, wit, versatility, free physicality and fully engaged emotions. This way of approaching Shakespeare elicits confidence and passion from the speaker, and spontaneous reactions from the listeners on stage and off.

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