- Written by Sarah Lumsden
This was our first rehearsal for the corporeal mime piece, directed by Tania Coke. Corporeal mime is not something that people in black and white face paint do to pull an imaginary rope or get out of an imaginary box. It’s a theory of movement created by Étienne Decroux, aiming to put drama into the moving body; “making visible the invisible” in his own words. We will use this theory to continue exploring the theme of social isolation that we used for ‘a people apart’.
With varying levels of experience in this form, and other kinds of physical theatre and dance, we launched into this new project. Starting with a warm-up of walking in a square to a count of 4, we learned to be present with our bodies, focused, neutral and alert. An important starting point for this kind of work. We then went through some motion planes we can work with - lateral, depth and rotation and applied them to different parts of the body - the head, the hammer, bust, trunk and the whole body (adorably called the Eiffel Tower).
Next came experimentation with rhythm. Using the action of shaking hands we explored how dividing the action into parts and slowing down or speeding up all or some of these parts created a different feeling and effect.
We then divided into pairs and worked on a short piece using pointing and looking. We pretended there was a person we wanted to ostracize sitting on a stool in front of us. Using the skills we had just been introduced to, we came up with about one minute’s worth of various pointing and looking actions to sufficiently shun this person. We then showed each other our pieces, taught them to one another and finally combined them to make a piece that we kept practising for the remainder of the rehearsal. A `script’ for the piece was made and we will revisit it soon.