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  • Writer's pictureAlysa Leung

To observe: Dancing and talking - Mathilde Monnier 5

On the last day of the research lab, we experienced how to embody the text.

First, we start with a concentration exercise and then explore the touch:

To Monnier, “touch” means how “we are touched by the touch”. To me, the first touch is both physically and mentally., especially thinking through how we conceive and perceive the world’s materials. Take the walls as an example. Monnier asked us to be moved by the energy from the wall. From the temperature, and texture of the wall to the energy flow of the room and slightly including the other moving bodies in the room, this energy circulation vibrates from small to a bigger sense. And that’s how “precence” occur.

Interestingly, we discussed how to “repeat the moment of touch”. As performers, regardless of theatre or dance, they require lots of rehearsing and being well-trained for the moment. However, how to have discoveries and projecting energy, should be “new” in every practice. This moment of “re-touch” creates layers in the performance.

Moving from object to human, we have a partnership on moving one’s whip cage. I have a great time discovering my body with the awareness on it.

The touches exercise brings forwards the small group improvisation. However, it becomes the air. This means that the touch is not physical but mentally being together with the partners. But sometimes, we can be ‘selfish’ and focus on our experiment.

From my observations, there are serval points I want to further research on them:

  1. how (other) bodies changes voice (e.g. shakes, press, touch… these are also connected to the physical theatre)

  2. Approach to “free from the text”. sometimes when it goes to movement and talking, we usually fall into the trap of taking the voice as a kind of soundscape or “jibbish”. However, I agree that Monnier said, “the text is the text, the music is the music”. How we insert the meaning of the text is a challenging but fruitful practice. p.s. I am going too extreme with words or sounds, either too limited or too free. I will need to find the balance on it.

  3. This also connects to one’s connection with the text.

    1. What is my ‘personal touch’ with the text?

    2. what does it mean to me?

    3. why do I want to say it?

    4. why should I embody them?

  4. And this leads to how to sustain the scene. In improv, we never know what can happen.

  5. So, be confident in your own research/ presence on stage.

Personally, this week is like a reminder week regarding body and voice. Indeed, it takes a lot of confusion/ conflicts inside me. The notes from my previous teacher appear in my mind, and they all flow into me at once. It’s quite overwhelming. I have tried to focus on the moment and reflect later. But sometimes it’s difficult. It’s an overwhelming process. The practice of Monnier and my peers have inspired me a lot in terms of opening my body, my voice and my mind. Monnier also reminds me a lot of “Focusing”, what when and who I want to address at that moment? There’s a choice.

For the future, it would be very nice to know more ‘techniques’ or ‘methods’ for working on text and body.

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