Reflection on Farm in the Cave’s workshop

Barbara Wypych – Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Filmowa, Telewizyjna i Teatralna im. Leona Schillera, Lodz

Workshop conducted by a team of “Farm in the Cave” was certainly an interesting experience. Exploring new methods and techniques related to the creative existence on the stage, enriches and broadens the range of possibilities, allows to discover new implementing measures.  I feel that we could not take full advantage of the December meeting.  We found out about the trip to Prague relatively late, and commissioned tasks were impossible to prepare in one day. However, you can count on our recommendation, the more that the workshop in their structure and conventions really reminded me of classes in “Techniques stage movement” led by Elina Toneva P. and P. Thomas Rodowicz, which I advocate.

This kind of meeting would be more interesting and useful for students of lower grades, who are at the beginning of their artistic education, maybe in their first or second year.  The emphasis was put on exercises related to the body and voice, which are the most important tools of an actor.  Awareness of a young student standing on the threshold of his or her acting career is limited.  Unexperienced student needs a proper instructions, that should be fully provided.

Particular attention was concentrated on listening skills. Our ear determines us actors on the stage.    It’s like a compass pointing to the right direction. A lot of tasks occurred, based on complex rhythmical systems that complement and fulfill each other -perfecting our vigilance, coordination and concentration. We have undertaken learning of folk songs of various origins, demanding to find the harmony, dynamics and articulation. There was a series of physical exercises based on the work of the imagination and engaging all the muscles.  Some of them essentially resembled the tasks proposed by J. Grotowski.

It was noticeable how much our body is correlated with the voice. When the body was able to effectively stimulate into an act, put into some kind of “trans”, the vocal possibilities clearly increased. . We were taught how to go through all possible stages in natural and organic fashion.  It turns out that the human voice has the potential to extract the most extreme tones.  We are able to use it without much effort, we only need to approach the exercise with common sense, try to relax and free our bodies and not put too much pressure on ourselves.

All of the proposed tasks were very interesting, but the space assigned for activities was not sufficiently equipped.  Lack of mattresses (soft ground) too often broke my concentration and took all the joy of self-discovery. Especially painful for me was the warm-up: sudden changes in body position, knocking it to the top, moving without the use of feet and hands- movement based on activity of the knees and elbows.  I understood the concept of the exercise-to limit  “Showiness” to a minimum, exercise  the concentration of the internal flow of emotions and intentions.

One of my biggest surprise were some of the participants of the workshop, mostly people aspiring to drama schools. There was a clear difference in the way of performing tasks, in creativity of activities, alertness or consciousness for the  partner. The exercises in pairs were not my favorite.  In my opinion, the activities were taking more time and were generating negative emotions in me.

Imitation of recorded, characteristic voices is a fantastic job of an actor.  With additional assumptions, efforts to recreate the rhythm, melody and dynamics of speech develops divided attention, makes the actor extremely focused on the task, making his existence on the stage becomes active. “I am, so working” – as he wrote Stanislavsky.

After five days of regular work, we were able in subgroups to present our own sequence of events, making the viewer  very curious.  It was very encouraging. The  discipline and energy was very appealing to me.  Acting requires a lot of effort and dedication. To achieve the desired effect is often necessary to perform a titanic work.  With great pleasure, I watched the course of your rehearsal.  I was full of admiration of your great commitment and joy in building together a beautiful piece of work.  Writing about it, I still have before my eyes Ana, of whoom I could not take my eyes of.  For me, inspiring member in your group is Vani, humble, extremely hardworking and helpful. Thank you for meeting with Prof. Pilátová, our conversation was very important to me.  Although initially I had a huge distance to the joint discovery, my idea of “Farm in the Cave” was definitely different, but I am sincerely glad that I was able to meet with you.