Monday, May 03, 2010

Flynn N.A.S.A. Grant Recipient Ellen Smith Ahern - Blog #3

Monday, May 3 - "In the last few rehearsals the guys have really become more comfortable with physical contact and improvisation as an ensemble. It has been fun and fruitful to spend a couple hours at a time exploring different challenges or puzzles, like giving one person the goal of crossing the entire space as quickly as possible while the rest of the group is responsible for hindering their progress in as many different shapes and forms as they can. These experiments usually begin with a ton of energy until they hit a wall of sorts, a point at which the movement and/or shapes have become too complicated to keep moving forward in the same direction. They get stuck."

"These sticking points, which I usually can't predict or plan, always seem to arise when things are getting too easy and moving too smoothly, and they force all of us to reconsider, to try another route. Sometimes the other route involves breaking down 'rehearsal' into an impromptu cricket or dodgeball match, or some slo-mo kung fu fighting to diffuse the tension. While the instances in which we stay focused and push through the sticking point are valuable in the choreographic process, I'm beginning to feel like the games and silly tension breakers are just as much a part of the structure and energy of our work together. So I'm thinking about how to make space for games and playing in the piece, how to build up other material to the point at which a game or some kind of loosely structured tension-breaker feels absolutely necessary, although not predictable."

"We're also coming to a point at which the narratives the performers wrote and have matched with solo movement are becoming quite clear in pace, voice, etc. The verbal, more literal parts are opening up like little windows here and there, exposing some of the history and emotion of the material through a different medium. Now we're working to develop the pacing and detail in the accompanying movement, so that there is just as much intention and clarity there as there is in the text."

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