Open Studio Session 2: Starting Points

23 Nov 2020

Platform is supporting six stand-alone workshops for anyone aged 16 - 25 years with an interest in performance. Each workshop will have a different focus. Although the programme is responding to feedback from members of the existing Platform Young Company members they are open to everyone aged 16 - 25 with an interest in performance - no experience necessary - simply send us an email to performance@platform-online.co.uk for more information. Workshops are curated by Isabel Dickens - here she explains what happened during the recent workshop…

For the second Open Studio session we worked with physical theatre and clown artist Ruxy Cantir. Each session has a theme and a skill that we are looking at so today was looking at starting points for pieces and finding ways of developing it. The skillshare side was working with Ruxy’s skills in physical theatre and clowning. In the last session Ewan had expressed an interest in learning more about comedy and audience interaction so today we started with a check-in and then Ruxy led a warm-up which she called ‘clown push-ups’, we started with focussing on the image of a kettle boiling and feeling what the energy was like in our bodies, trying to use that a stimulus for playfulness, curiosity and an open mind when working. We spent time exploring our own spaces and then different physical ways of altering the way we move, our faces and our walk before coming back and playing games where we would say hello to each other with different facial expressions and trying not to show our teeth. It was a great start to the session which was really energising and different for us especially after doing a lot of work over zoom which is non-physical.

After the first session we had asked people to come up with one minute of material and bring it to the session to workshop. Ewan and Lauren had both created short films which they shared and Ruxy guided us through a version of the Liz Leman critical response process where first we shared impressions of the work, then they asked us questions about what was made and we then shared possible suggestions or ideas about things they could experiment with. Ewan created a short film where we saw him in many different hats by his computer which like a Tik Tok video he would appear in the same position with a different costume. This had quite a comical impact but then altered mood where the image was dark and it felt like we were seeing a different more personal side of Ewan before him returning to a kind of pensive state towards the end. Lauren created an image where she was experimenting with the idea of her hand interacting with her face and abstractly exploring the concept of lethargy versus movement, with music in the background. It felt like this could be a useful tool people could take away to contribute to their development process without being too imposing of other people’s views and opinions.

After this we had a quick break and then returned to the session to do a quick skills-sharing session with Ruxy, we practised ‘look, shape, take’ where we would look at something out of the camera, create a physical shape of the reaction in our bodies and then share that with the audience aka the camera and practise that. We also worked on falls and spent a bit of time falling in and out of the frame on zoom which was exciting. Everyone brought so much energy to the work but due to time we had to finish there. We had the time for a few questions and people asked Ruxy a bit about her career and how she feels about physical theatre and what brought to that kind of work. It felt like it had been something enjoyable and different to the norm as well as a chance to look at the work that people wanted to make.

Our next session will be with the London based director Dan Bird, who is going run a session on the process of writing and rehearsal. This session will be on the 5th of December cover skills around narrative, text and plot-driven work and devising skills.

Platform Young Company


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