“Transformation – that is what the actor’s nature, consciously or unconsciously, longs for.”
– Michael Chekhov
A 3 1/2-year part-time course三年帶狀課程
with David Anderson and Yuanrong Liao Anderson of Walking the dog Theater
由大衛．安德森與廖圓融帶領（Walking the dog劇團）
We are all on a path of transformation. We can take up this process consciously and actively through our will, which will awaken our feeling life and clarify our thinking, or we can let the situations of life force the necessary changes or growing upon us. Both options move us forward and both are happening already. This course offers an opportunity to make these inner processes conscious and to recognize that when we can creatively participate in these processes, a richness of life can open up for us. Our conversation with the spiritual or archetypal world can deepen. We begin to sense that where we are evolving, the world is evolving.
As human beings we play and act our daily lives using the elements of drama. These elements – movement, gesture, speech, atmosphere, space, image, language – shape our environment, our relationships, and the process of our becoming. They are the tools of our transformation and illuminate our path. How we use these elements determines the forces and energies that enter our lives and attend our work. In this course we will look at how we can become more aware and creative with these elements and forces, and how they might lead us toward a richer experience of being alive.
These elements have both outer and inner aspects. The drama work can help us to open up to these aspects, to understand the unique relationship between them, and to unite the inner and outer in our experience of life. The course is open to adults at any level of dramatic experience. It is an opportunity to clarify our perceptions and to deepen our understanding of how we express life and how life expresses itself through us.
We are born with certain senses built into the body and they develop unconsciously. Other, more artistic senses – a sense of ease, form, beauty, wholeness, balance, meaning, connection, for example – might never develop unless we consciously create a context for these senses to work. This course will awaken and engage these artistic senses as well as our 12 senses.
Ideal for actors and creators of all kinds but also for anyone interested in developing a deeper experience of his or her human potential. This work has supported teachers in the art of teaching, business leaders in improving the impact and quality of their communication and their leadership, coaches in sharpening their perception of what is needed and strengthening their ability to facilitate team work, and those seeking practical tools for enriching their inner work, self-development, and meditation.
The course will explore the Michael Chekov Acting Technique and draw inspiration from Rudolf Steiner’s picture of the evolving human being.
Michael Chekhov investigated the interplay between psychology and body, between the ‘tangible and intangible’. He developed simple and clear tools for the actor, based on the powers of Concentration and Imagination, Sensation, Quality, Archetype, Archetypal and Psychological Gesture, Imaginary Center, Imaginary Body, Radiating and Receiving, and Atmosphere. Going beyond personal experience and intellect, Chekhov’s exercises open doors to our own creative individuality and to a vibrant experience of the archetypal world. The course will also cover: qualities of movement, the relationship between outer physical movement and inner sensation, center and periphery, characterization, presence, improvisation and ensemble work, and Chekhov’s Nine Basic Exercises. The Chekhov technique leads the actor toward an objective understanding of the human condition.
Rudolf Steiner’s artistic impulses have led to a renewal in many arts. The course will focus particularly on his contributions to speech, drama, and movement.
Year I 第一年
Freeing the body and opening the soul / Preparing the actor
In working with the body and voice, and the qualities that can be discovered with them, the first year will focus on awakening our own artistic path, not only as a means of self-expression but as a means for perceiving and understanding the unique context of our life. Movement, gesture, and speech will become means for revealing qualities and strengthening our awareness for how life moves in us. They will bring consciousness to our soul and body habits. The work will include storytelling, image, and poetry.
Module 1: Introduction單元一：導論 (入門)
Strengthen the inner life and the outer expression of it強化內在生命並以外在形式呈現
Basic exercises will: develop a sensitivity to qualities and to the streams of life, and an ability to radiate and receive; enhance a sense of form and sensations of freedom, ease, stillness, and beauty; and awaken awareness for the movements, expressions, and processes of the inner life. This introductory training makes the body finer and more sensitive, the inner experiences clearer, and deepens the actor’s understanding for the potential and limitations of his or her instrument. In this week we will also begin to develop the ensemble – a sense of the group and its process together. We will recognize that our social process together – the substance that we build together as a group – will be one of our core teachers.
Module 2: Storytelling and poetry單元二：說故事和詩歌藝術
Deepening the exercises will open up new layers of experience and expand our capacities. We will turn these capacities toward the art of storytelling and to the speaking of poetry. This will include work with image, imagination, sensation, concentration, and the power of inviting substance into the space. The group will also begin to recognize that the substance between them, which they consciously create together, can become a powerful creative force. We will sing. We will also grow in our understanding that through the act of speaking we become co-creators of ourselves and the world. We will continue to broaden the vocabulary of our inner languages through drama exercises and play.
Becoming a vessel / Calling upon imagination and inspiration
In the second year, the work will turn towards exploring how the awakened body and soul can become a vehicle for encountering “otherness” and archetypes – a more universal, less personal, experience of life through our body and soul, which can feel like meeting something bigger than us. We will look at ways to free the power of our imagination, an essential element in any creative process. The work will include elements of character building, scene work, and improvisation. We will also deepen our capacity to listen: to others, to what is speaking in the space we inhabit, and to what might arise in us as a necessary response. The ensemble work will begin to reveal how the substance between us can take us beyond what we could do before, both individually and as a group.
Module 3: Character and gesture, scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream單元三：角色性格和姿態，仲夏夜之夢的場景
A continual deepening of the exercises will show new possibilities for creative expression. Our work will turn toward tools for building character: imaginary centers, imaginary body, qualities of movement, the four elements and the four temperaments. These qualities live in us already; we will learn to make them more free and creative.
We will distinguish the differences between actor and character, and develop the ability to step in and out of a full and alive character. This will also help us to make more conscious the “character” we play in life.
We will explore gesture – the physical revelation of my relationship to the world and the invisible soul movement that colors everything a person does or says. Work with archetypal gesture and psychological gesture show us how form and qualities of movement conjure the life of feeling and will.
We will also begin to explore the realm of color, introduce improvisation, listening exercises, especially working with music, archetypal character, and our work with Speech will focus on the Greek gymnastic exercises: running, jumping, wrestling, javelin, and the discus.
Participants will continue their work on poetry and also begin work on dramatic monologues and scenes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some groups have chosen to share their poems, singing, improv, and scenes before an audience during this module.
Module 4: Improvisation and work with Hamlet單元四：即興表演和哈姆雷特
The artist’s highest aim is free and complete expression. Improvisation work will open up the well of spontaneous imagination and creativity. It develops a flexibility and openness for the soul to meet and encounter situations with creativity and the ability to surprise ourselves; to dare the unrehearsed and the unexpected; to brave the unknown; to awaken a new sense of freedom and inner richness. We will take our acting work into speeches and scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
We will continue to deepen our work with Speech, looking at Steiner’s six basic gestures, to explore the relationship between inner and outer movement and expression – how they radiate an experience of our presence, and to work with the basic exercises of the Michael Chekhov acting technique.
We will explore Goethean conversation (the art of conversation), other modes of listening, and will introduce new inner exercises.
Year III and IV第三年和第四年
Serving the world / Performance服務世界／表演
The third year will put these new and developing capacities into practice, into action. These capacities will become tools for further transformation of ourselves, our relationships, and the life around us. They can also serve as a “path to the spirit,” whether to the spirit of a play, a character, or to the deeper intentions that shape our lives.
The last modules will draw together all the work, with a new focus on ensemble work (selfless co-creating or oneness with others), team-building, characters, and atmospheres. Although these elements will have been part of previous weeks, the final weeks will put all the elements into practice as we prepare for creating a play together. Participants will develop and share personal performance projects and/or a group project or play before an audience. Although performing publicly is not required, each person will be involved in a project that demonstrates his or her progress in the course. Most groups choose to rehearse and create a play together by the final two modules. This allows all of what we have practiced to come into play through the most social art of all the arts: drama!
Module 5: Ensemble work, atmospheres, image, clowning 單元五：群體工作、氛圍、圖像和小丑
We will recognize that the capacities we develop not only support our individual growth but serve the development of the whole. The ensemble will now become a working group or organ of perception, able to create together. Speech, poetry and monologue or scene work, and Chekhov exercises, will also continue. We will expand our exploration of the realm of image – to see how images live in us and in our space and how we might cultivate more freedom in the images we attract or inhabit. We will look at all 6 subsidiary, “protective” or hygienic exercises, continue developing our 12 senses, including a sense of taste, work with the neutral mask, and introduce elements of clowning. Clowning is a state of playfulness that allows us a connection to what makes us vulnerable and receptive. We will also explore more Goethean conversation and the “World Café” social technology.
Module 6 and 7: Creating together單元六和七：共同創造
Our process together was given a specific commitment of time, and now that time is near fulfillment. This means that, whatever learning we were seeking through this work, consciously or unconsciously, will find a new level of understanding or completion in us. Will it feel like a turning point, a new stage of development, a new capacity developed, or will it be more subtle than that?
We have always been engaged in a social process, which has given us opportunities for practicing our work, but now our social process will be directed toward a shared intention – the creation of a theater production for an audience. We will continue to develop the substance of our ensemble and sense our strengths and growing points as a group. We will each take up responsibilities that serve this common intention, including the development of a character(s) that the play needs. This application of all the work allows the exercises to penetrate more deeply into our will and our daily life, supporting us to transform our habits, our relationships, and our capacity to serve.
We will, through the process, recognize the presence of what we have learned together and how we have grown. We will also learn to perceive what form (movement in space and action) and spatial relationships are needed for the spirit of the play to express itself most clearly and beautifully. Our ‘sense of the whole’ will expand to include bigger and bigger contexts. We will also take more and more specific steps with speech, movement, and the art of performance, as we take more and more responsibility for our presence, for what we bring into any space we enter.
“Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature… The purpose of playing is to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III Scene 2
Every human being is an evolving picture of creative intentions每個人都是創造性意向中一幅不斷演化的圖像
Theater was born in Greece with the intention to reveal truths about humanity and the gods and to remind the human being who we are, why we are here, and how we can begin to take responsibility for our own destiny and the destiny of the world. Through our study of the actor’s art we can train our instrument, inviting our body and soul to become a means for expressing the highest intentions of our creative self.
Today, more than ever, theater is based on relationship: the relationships between the actors (and other production artists), between the characters we play, between the players and the audience, and between ourselves and the intangible realms that work with us. In all of these relationships we can find gesture, atmosphere, movement, qualities, and an invisible language of life. The art of acting reflects to us our habits, our connection to each other, and helps us toward a more conscious path in these relationships.
This course seeks to help participants develop capacities that can serve their life, their work, and the needs of the world. These capacities clarify our impulses, helping us to distinguish between personal desire and the task that is asked of us, illuminate our habits, enrich our social interactions, bring openness, energy, and flexibility to the soul, and lead us toward a greater freedom in how we move, gesture, and speak ourselves into the world. This rouses a deep sensation for how the world moves, gestures, and speaks through us.
The ultimate design of this course will be shaped by the needs and the process of the group involved.
“Drama is a creation of the spirit… When the whole human being places himself in word and gesture at the service of this creation, then this becomes a path to the spirit.”
- Rudolf Steiner
What will the three-year course give? 這三年課程提供的是什麼？
Depending on the commitment to the work and the process together, the work will:
- develop inner capacities for meeting the challenges of life and creating progressive directions for it
- strengthen the soul life and refine our experience for how life expresses itself through us
- give us tools for our own process of transformation and a recognition of the inner and outer movements and gestures that we create and that are created around us
- deepen a recognition of our impact on the world, the world’s impact on us, and the sense of meaning and connection that can grow between the world and us
Participants will notice subtle and not-so-subtle changes in their experience of themselves and the world. They will find a deeper sense of empathy and understanding. They may notice changes in their relationships, in the sense of meaning in their lives, a sense of connection to something greater than themselves, and a deeper sense of freedom in how they create their lives.
Participants will also develop abilities to express themselves, a freedom in the quality of their speaking and their voice, and performance skills – body and soul flexibility, expression that is more connected to their intention and more connected to the whole. Participants will also learn how drama work can be brought in a healthy and supportive way to the development of children and how it can serve a larger picture of human development. Participants will become more fluent in the Michael Chekhov technique and the arts of speech and movement. It is possible that the ensemble could continue to work together as a performance or working group after the completion of the course.