Tuesday, July 14, 2009

War of the Worlds - Viewpoints

I have to interrupt this sketch crawl to bring you more news from the rehearsal hall of War of the Worlds. I will bring you an eyewitness account of what is happening. I will continue relating events as they unfold for as long as I can talk and as long as I can see. In many ways what is happening is indescribable, it is the most extraordinary experience, I can not find the words...
This second rehearsal built from the first using exercises called Viewpoints. The actors move on an imaginary grid exploring extremes of tempo and pacing to start. They then began exploring kinesthetic responses, namely why are they moving and are they responding to another actors movements. At times they were asked to repeat another actors movements. They were asked to become aware of the space around them and to be mindful of how they fill the space. Layered on top of this they were permitted to explore behavioral and expressive gestures. Lastly each actor was given a line from a poem which they could recite in order to further express themselves.
"I can't believe this is happening."
"Have you heard."
"This is it."
"Are you sure?"
"This IS happening."
As the actors explored their movements on the grid, Aradhana would shout out questions which would further affect the performances.
"Does someone elses panic affect your own?"
"How does panic build?"
"Are you more afraid?"
"Explore the way out of your panic."
"What are you afraid of?"
"Your words are what you hold onto when you are most afraid, they are all you have left."
The panic although expressed in an abstract fashion with limited dialogue was palpable, overwhelming and exhausting. I vastly admire what the actors were able to emote using just body language tempo of movement and limited expressive dialogue. These exercises inspired new thoughts in the directors and allowed the show to develop with every actor contributing to the final gelled look of the show. As the youngest actress, Sophia Wise, stated so eloquently, "War of the Worlds is a delicate balance between the abstract and reality."

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