’True theater can only exist when it touches a certain universal energy, transcending our ordinary daily existence and reaching a higher level. In order to perform in a production that fulfilled this requirement . . . actors should be the sort of people who believe that we are not merely products of our ordinary daily existence, but that inside us all there is an invisible energy and that this energy is both a part and a reflection of the vast universal energy’’. – Yoshi Oida.
In 2012 Smashing Times Theatre Company set up its first acting ensemble experiment. To date the company has worked with several key actors, theatre makers, a writer and a visual artist on a regular basis and we now wish to develop an acting ensemble as we believe it is key to the growth of the company and its work. By working together on a regular basis we are developing trust and a shared or common language. From our work to date we have discovered that the sense of being a unified group has to exist. The company now has a strong sense of unity amonst all key members on a wider level, involving artists and staff and want to develop further this sense of unity amongst a core group of actors/performers.We feel this sense of unity is essential, otherwise performances may not work or achieve their full potential. We want to concentrate on creating a single team and a powerful sense of connection.
A key aim of the ensemble is that we are interested in seeking the truth via the physical body rather than the intellect with an emphasis on physical experience and attainment.
The ensemble is not merely a group of actors working together, it is about having a commitment to each other on a long-term basis and a commitment to developing group skills in the key areas of work that we are training and working in. We are also experimenting with how the technique can influence other arts practice such as visual art and writing and how that can in turn inform the creation of a theatre piece.
The work of the ensemble is centred on the Group Theatre lineage; on the principles of Constantin Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov and on a physical based approach with specific reference to working in abstract movement as a means of creating visercal, emotionally connected work.
- To develop fundamental principles of character work, ensemble techniques and collective rehearsal procedures with a specific focus on the Stanislavski System of Actor training, Michael Chekhov/David Zinder technqiues of physical abstract movement work; techniques and principles of theatre practitioner Yoshi Oida and Grotowski with specific reference to centres of energy and physical body work.
- To develop experientially skills in character work and rehearsal procedures incorporatint the above techniques.
- To expand the process re: integration of skills in terms of physical, vocal and emotional development
- To develop the physical, emotional and sensory life of the character and aim for truthful acting that is rooted in the instinctive and is justified and to develop spontaneous and creative communication between actors in relation to responses based on observed behavior or imaginary stimuli.
- A key aim of the ensemble is to develop a sense of truth (Stanislavski) and equally to develop a physical approach to the work that involves a full body engagement, the use of physical abstract movement and body techniques and expressive/surrealist modes of expression.
Overall a key focus of the ensemble is to develop a common language, a sense of vulnerability and openess in the actors, and a sense of truth in the work, specifically discovering a sense of truth through the body, workign with deeper phsyical impulses and responses and exploring a sense of truth through the body which never lies.
KEY ONGOING OBJECTIVES:
- To develop trust and risk-taking
- To develop key improvisational techniques and free expression of the creative individual
- To explore and use energy and emotions rising from the deepest well of the human being
- To use the human you, rather than the ‘actor’ you
- To encourage a sense of truth in acting and create work that has depth
- To develop the inner life, the emotional and sensory life and the physical presence of the performer
- To create the life of the human soul or spirit in performance
- To explore and work with paradoxes of acting
- To work from the hara, a major source of energy and concentration
- To work with centres of energy, qualities and images
- To explore clarity and emptyiness as theatrical goals
- To explore many paths within the human performer
- To develop the use of breath as a key principle of performance
- To work with fearlessness and controlled abandonment
- To work with a visceral deeper, inner connection and to connect with the intuitive