Thursday, December 14, 2006

Teaching Acting

I've been thinking more about this since the last post - partly because of Neil's fascinating comment, and partly because, with one thing and another, I'm doing more of it. The Laboratory moves forward: the next workshop is on Saturday, and we've put in a funding bid to make it a major feature of next year's work.

We presented the students' work at Rose Bruford last week. They did amazingly well - very intense and committed performances. So had I taught them anything? Or - had they learnt anything? I guess what I meant last time was that I don't feel you can teach talent, the performing instinct, the Zen leap into the other world of the stage. But you CAN teach technique, and you can teach genre. Watching them in action, I could see what they had taken on board was the different discipline of political performance; that Brecht-meets-China idea that we mustn't confuse the character and the actor. Teaching this, I've become more consciously aware of it: but I think it's present somewhere in most of what we do. Our productions tend to use naturalism as only one of a number of theatre styles, and it's the only one where the dividing lines are not totally clear.

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