Tag Archives: drama

What participants have to say!

THE CREATIVE ACTOR: “For me, it was one of the most worthwhile weeks of my life and I certainly plan to return next year”. Sheyla Sly.

SCREEN ACTING: Thoroughly enjoyed the Screen Acting workshop! I learnt so much and I felt I developed a part of me I did not know existed. It has helped me prepare for an audition which I was successful in getting. Fantastic direction from Simon and Marian and an absolutely beautiful place to be learning in”. Tara Hodgson

ART OF COMEDY “The wonderful structure of the course, the intelligent and spot on teaching and the beautiful setting made for a hugely positive time. I really couldn’t recommend it more. Thank you to the Actors Space!”. Anna Brooks-Beckman

DIRECTING PERFORMANCE “My senses were filled, my creativity re-ignited and energised. I discovered skills i didn’t know i had. Marian and Simon create a safe non judgmental, yet growth environment that allows each student to feel they are contributing something. I absolutely loved it”. Janine Hardy.

Find out more…

‘Enjoy, enjoy enjoy!’ – The Actors Space

XVIII International Theatre and Film Workshops

…what a pleasure to have been doing these workshops for 18 years and always with great, talented people from all over the world! This time the  residential workshops took place from mid July to mid September and were attended by 53 people from 15 different nationalities. It is always a joy for me to teach for such special workshops. A melting pot of cultures, experiences and creativity! This is The Actors Space.  Marian Masoliver co-director/ teacher at The Actors Space

The Creative Actor “A thousand thank you’s for this wonderful week, full of discoveries, exchanges and encounters -I’ll be back! Clemency” Fiot, France

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more info here

 

The Art of Comedy “When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them, is the best thing that could happen!” Yvonne Link, Germany

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more info here

 

Screen Acting “...I’ve come away with lots of new tools ready to start my degree in acting!…thank you again for helping me along with my career!” Imogen Segrave, UK

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more info here

 

Directing PerformanceProfound, enlighting, awakening, liberating…what a wonderful week! Thank you”. Janine Hardy, Ireland.

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more info here

The Actors Space in Ecuador and more…

In February 2016 I was lucky enough to go to Northern Ecuador with my partner Simon Edwards, with whom 18 years ago, we co-founded The Actors Space, an international centre of research, training and creation for the Dramatic Arts, near Barcelona.

In the Andean city of Ibarra, province of Imbabura, we worked with ‘Calle Paz y Respeto’ a collective of gang members who after experiencing real tragedy decided to turn things around – see the trailer of the documentary ‘Peace is Inevitable’ about their change, produced last year in Ecuador and co-directed by Simon Edwards.

Radio Publica Ecuador’s director Giovanna Tassi, was so impressed with their change that she gave them a Nationwide Radio Program to tell their stories and to promote Peace.

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Simon and I, in association with The Prem Rawat Foundation, were working with these young people for two months, directing and helping produce their weekly Radio Show ‘Reacciona’, dramatising stories and coaching the performers as we created together radio Theatre Plays aimed at vulnerable young people. These plays are universal stories with a message of Peace filled with drama and comedy.

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The experience has been challenging and wonderful at the same time… and so fulfilling that we are still writing scripts and giving feedback on their show from our centre near Barcelona.

The adventures don’t stop! We have an action packed month, filming at the British Film Institute in London and at the end of the month we are going to the Canary Islands to shoot yet another short film.

And of course we are looking forward to this summer’s International Theatre and Film Workshops here at The Actors Space. This is going to be the 18th year of these special workshops, with people coming from all over the world to train and push the boundaries of dramatic and comic creation. There are still some places available.

Directing Performance – The inside story

My name is Orla Burke and I am from Ireland. I came here in September 2011 to do the Directing Performance Course. I had experience in acting so I wanted to learn more about other aspects of performance. The course description said that there was an emphasis on the “creative triangle” – writing, directing and acting.

The Directing Course is five days long. I wondered what one could achieve in such a short amount of time. On the very first day I had my first light bulb moment. I, along with most of the other participants, “failed” at the very first exercise that we were set. However it was one of the most satisfying failures I have ever experienced. That very night I sat down and wrote a script based on what I had discovered that day.

We were asked to bring along a script we would like to direct. We worked through this and also had to do a session of directing in front of the whole group. Normally I would have thought that this would have been like one of those horrible dreams where you realise you are naked in front of everyone you know! However Simon and Marian created an atmosphere where you felt safe to explore and take risks.

Simon and Marian have a wealth of experience and generously share this with the participants. They trained with Jacques Lecoq in Paris and have worked both as actors and in other aspects of theatre and filmmaking. Their respect for the performer shone through. For participants coming from a technical background such as filmmaking, this course is an excellent bridge between technical training and the art of working with performers. All directors must act at least once on the course. I thought this was particularly helpful as it gave potential directors, who may never have worked as actors before, a chance to feel what it is like to act. This in turn could help directors to be more compassionate towards the actor. Without actors we are nothing so we must treat them with respect in order to continue in our work as directors.

Every one of the directors must write a short piece based on the principles learned throughout the week. Simon and Marian had drummed into us that you “should not direct what you write, you should not act in what you direct”. I could see the potential pitfalls of doing either of these, however on Friday I was to have my eyes opened to the potential of the creative triangle.

I was given two pieces of advice before embarking on the writing – “Trust the actors” and “Trust the writing”. With this in mind I scoured the piece of any extraneous stage direction and exposition.

I handed Simon one sheet of paper the next day. He looked at it questioningly “You know it has to be three minutes?” I said it would be and went off to direct the piece he had just given me.

That evening at the showing my piece was up first. I had no idea what to expect as I had wanted to have the audience experience of “the reveal”. I had known what I was writing about the night before but the director and actors had made an even stronger choice than I could have imagined. I was blown away by the depth they brought to the piece. We were all moved by the piece and I was moved to tears! At the time I felt that it was not my story but an even better story than I could have envisioned. (Later when I returned home I realised it was my story – I could just not see it at the time.)

Time at the actors space is not all work work work. In fact Simon and Marian’s philosophy is “Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy” (And when you have finished doing that enjoy a little bit more!) The work of directing is punctuated with relaxation exercises and warm-ups that feed the directing work. In the evenings you can socialise with the other participants and explore the beautiful surroundings.

I have found the work here has kept me inspired for months afterwards. I have continued writing and performing with the ideas I have learned here. One thing that stuck with me as a performer is that when auditioning for parts but I should also audition directors. This is my chosen art and I want to know that directors I work with will respect me as an artist. It has also inspired me to want to work with people who have trained here.

I would recommend this course to anyone interested in the creative process. Whether you see yourself as an actor, director or writer this course will give you a chance to do all three. If you see yourself as only one of these, you may discover you have a talent for one of the others. If you are a writer you will get a chance to see your work performed by highly talented actors. If you have ever been hurt during the creative process, you will see that there is an alternative to result directing and meet people you would like to work with in the future. As a director the training is excellent – although not a long course it is deep and thorough. Not only a great starting place for fledgling directors but also a great refresher course for directors mid-career that will keep you inspired for a long time to come.

One word of warning about coming to The Actor’s Space – its addictive. You may enjoy yourself so much here that you want to come back again and again. I hope you get the chance to come here at some stage and if you do “Bon Viatge!” with your journey. You will not regret it.

The Actor’s Space offers professional Lecoq-based theatre and film courses throughout the summer. It’s in the mountains around Vic about an hour from Barcelona. The courses take place in the idyllic setting of 16th century farmhouse. The courses are fully residential with food and lodging included in the price.

 

Tell me and I may Forget, Show me and I may Remember, Involve me and I will Understand!

Marian Masoliver

– ‘Don’t touch this, it is hot!!!’- followed by an explanation…

But curiosity is greater than the mother’s reasoning and eventually, one day, the child touches the burning pan… Then feels the pain, doesn’t like it and learns not to ever touch it again (at least for a while…).


Clown Impro at The Actors Space

In the same way we could spend hours talking about Theatre, acting techniques and bla, bla ,bla… but the best way for an actor to learn the skill of acting is through experience, PRACTICAL experience. Which leads to Understanding (what a beautiful word…when we understand it feels like a little light being turned on inside.. ).

Same applies to directors. The body must understand as well, not just the mind. To listen, to question, to try…to trust the senses and your ‘creative intuition’… And what I call ‘creative intuition’ is that feeling that makes one play, react, be alive in the moment, with the space, with the audience and with the other characters. And when this happens it is a blast for the actor! Part of the director’s job is to nourish this, so that the actors can find that freedom and the joy of ‘playing’ within a solid structure.

I read the title of this blog in a leaflet by a the theatre company called Graffiti Theatre Company. They are an Irish Educational Theatre Company that I heard good things about: ‘Tell me and I may Forget, Show me and I may Remember, Involve me and I will Understand’! As a teacher, director and mother I  agree!

Yes, I have to say it, this is our approach as well at The Actors Space:


Family photo of the first Directing Performance Workshop we did at The Actors Space (3 years ago). Thanks to everyone that came directors and actors, it was a blast!

‘Involve me and I will understand’. This is the third year that we are running our Directing Performance workshop, it has always been a blast and I am really looking forward to it this year as well!

Happy travels (even if you are staying at home)!

What do we have in common? The beauty of the Neutral Mask


The Neutral Mask, made by Simon Edwards

Marian Masoliver

Yes we are all different and yet we are all the same. When we see a tree, a sunset, climb a mountain…The Neutral Mask allows the actor to be present in the space. As human beings we have been given good imagination. Instantly the images come, we just need to let them in. As if for the first time the Neutral Mask sees, touches, hears….It has a state of awarness…technically the mask raises the level of tension of the body and teaches the actor to project physically. The movement becomes clean, clear and amplified. It finds an economy of movement which is precious and poetic. It engages the whole body and it finds the attitudes (strong dramatic moments of stillness).


Jacques Lecoq with The Neutral Mask

A well-worn Neutral Mask is beautiful. It shows us the essence of men and women. It’s a very precious tool for the actor. Not just physically (actors will benefit a lot in terms of ‘cleaning’ their body), but also emotionally and psycologically. When we come from the Neutral Mask we are detached. When we play a character we don’t need to come from a place which is personal. We can understand that as human beings we have anger, hate, rage as well as tenderness, love, kindness… If we can tap in that which is common to all (because we are humans and is part of our spectrum), we can have a distance and actually even ‘enjoy’ playing someone nasty… This is very helpful for film work as well as theatre. The Neutral Mask taught me this. This is why I love Lecoq’s approach because it is so healthy!

Theatre is an Art. And when it is carefully cultivated and understood it can tell us about Truth.

Voices – TOTAL THEATRE MAGAZINE by Dorothy Max Prior

Simon Edwards and Marian Masoliver of The Actors Space, in their own words

We met at Lecoq. We loved, it, got so much out of it that we wanted to share that with others – so we started The Actors Space.

The animals left and the actors came. The school is set in a sixteenth century farmhouse, an hour from Barcelona.

It’s been an organic growth. The workshops grew in success through word-of-mouth. People come back year after year.

We run workshops in The Clown, in The Creative Actor, and in Acting for Camera. We don’t really see a divide between theatre and screen work – this Lecoq-inspired work is the best training for any actor. It really is possible to ‘clown’ in any performance context – dramatic actor, cabaret turn, circus performer, actor to-camera…

Lecoq is not a ‘method’; it’s an observation, a way of being. It’s not a gospel. If you put it in a box, you might not be able to get it out! What you need is the minimum of set-up, then just let people play. Lecoq’s work lives on and grows – in the body, in the space.

Clown is many things, and clown includes the tragic clown. Comedy and drama are two sides of the same coin. The whole world is a potential theme for the clown. You play for the feelings, not for the laughs. This way of acting is a challenge to ‘psychological drama’ – Lecoq said play the experience, not your own personal experience.

A clown without an audience doesn’t exist. The clown always favours the relationship with the audience. There’s a direct contact: the eye contact is ‘at’ not ‘above’ the audience. The art is in playing the moment ‘in clown with’ the audience. Lecoq encouraged us to play ‘with’ the audience rather than ‘for’ the audience.

The clown’s fragile nature is revealed through doing things. You have to shed a lot of layers to get to a place of vulnerability, of ‘ridiculousness’. The clown uses her/his physical attributes: if you have long, skinny legs with bony knees, then that becomes an ‘asset’ rather than a ‘failure’.

Everyone is a success, everyone is OK. The world is currently set up with the ‘one gold medallist and the rest are failures’ mentality.

Children are natural clowns – but the clown’s aim is to be childlike not childish.

It’s you, not a funny character! Think of Chaplin, Tati, Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers…

Actors, clowns, performers are human beings. We are not machines. TV comedy, in particular, can become a sausage factory. Think how few episodes there are of Faulty Towers. Tommy Cooper and Eric Morecambe were killed by the strain.

A good director is like a gardener. Let the actor – the creative actor – take power, or you might as well do puppetry. Encourage, find the good, and the actor grow wings.

The mask or costume is a protector.

Neutral Mask work teaches you transposition. You don’t have to traumatise an audience. And you don’t have to play your inner psychopath! It’s a safe approach that allows you to enter dark territory whilst protecting yourself. A good friend and colleague is Sergi Lopez, who played the villainous Capitan Vidal in Del Toro’s Oscar-winning film, Pan’s Labyrinth. He used his Lecoq training to play this role. You can touch people without being devastated yourself by the role you are playing.

Beware the ‘dramatic effect’ – the lure of the ‘impressive actor’. The Neutral Mask asks for the ego-less actor. And the way of working values the ensemble; the co-operative theatre-maker.

The Actors Space is now our full-time home, but we don’t want to run a full-time school. We like the idea of it as a jewel, a special place to come for a short while. You can really change and grow, even in just two weeks.

Simon Edwards started out, age 14, as a ‘punk clown’ in the UK street arts/festival scene; later working as a performer/ company trainer for Kneehigh Theatre, and its offshoot, Wildworks. Marian Masilover worked as a performer with many legendary Catalan companies, including La Fura Del Baus, and with American/Mexican puppetry companies such as Los Titititeros. They met at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and have been partners in work and in life since, founding The Actors Space in 1999 – a centre dedicated to the professional training and development of the creative actor.

The Actors Space 2012 programme:
The Creative Actor 15h–28 July
Acting for Camera 1–14 August
The Clown 19 August–1 Sept.
Directing Performance 4-10 Sept.

All the above are residential, and dates include arrival and departure dates. Workshops are taught in English. The minimum age to participate is 18 years old. Fees are inclusive of accommodation and meals.

For full details see www.actors-space.org