March 2020

05. 03.
Thu
workshop
10:00–15:00

Blanka Žižka: The Body Knows / Tělo to ví

March 5 – 8 / workshop for proffesional actors, dancers and directors
English–friendly
Archa.lab
Price: CZK 4000 for 4 days

A theater workshop with a renowned American director.

The workshop participants, under the direction of Blanka Žižka, art director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, will explore the potentials of voice, breath and movement as tools for discovering new possibilities for interpreting the text in a rehearsal process. The Thinking Body method on which the workshop will rely will allow workshop participants to feel the voice as it exists throughout their body while learning to receive support from the outside world. Trough activating their backs, participants will discover new possibilities of connecting to their acting partners and the space; they will learn how improvised non-sensical language and sound can lead to understanding and discovering the basic emotions of the text.
The Thinking Body method is inspired by the work of Cicely Berry, who worked as a voice coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company for 40 years and worked with director Peter Brook for a long time. The essence of her work was to embody the text, reveal its roots inside the body, and fully depict the actor's emotional life through it.
 
Asistent to Blanka Žižka will be actor Ross Beschler, a member of the Wilma HotHouse Company.
Workshop for proffesional actors, dancers and directors.
The workshop will be led in both Czech and English. Czech students will work with Czech texts and foreign students with English texts.


Blanka Žižka has been Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. Blanka is the founder of the Wilma HotHouse: a resident ensemble of theater artists, formally launched in 2016 to serve as an incubator for artistic investigation and experimentation, featuring a core HotHouse Company of actors, enabled to dare and explore under the Wilma’s auspices, as well as resident artists and affiliated artists of all theatrical disciplines. At the Wilma, she has directed over 70 plays and musicals. Most recently, Blanka directed There by Etel Adnan, Romeo and Juliet, James Ijames’ Kill Move Paradise, the world premiere of Christopher Chen’s Passage, her play Adapt!, Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling, Tom Stoppard’s US premiere of The Hard Problem, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Paula Vogel’s world premiere Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Richard Bean’s Under the Whaleback, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, and Macbeth. Her other favorite productions are Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love and Rock ’n’ Roll, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, Athol Fugard’s Coming Home and My Children! My Africa!, and Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9. She collaborated closely with Dael Orlandersmith on her plays Raw Boys and Yellowman, which was co-produced by McCarter Theatre and the Wilma.Blanka was honored to be selected into the 2017 Class of the Innovators Walk of Fame by the University Science Center, which spotlights local innovators. She is a recipient of the 2016 Vilcek Prize which is awarded annually to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society. She received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in 2011, and she was a Fellow at the 2015 Sundance Institute/LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat.


Practical Information

•    The workshop is intended for professional actors, dancers, and directors.
•    The workshop will be conducted in Czech and English.
•    Submit your applications in the form of a cover letter and professional CV to jana.svobodova@archatheatre.cz
•    Deadline for applications: February 15, 2020.
•    Accepted applicants will be informed via e-mail till February 17, 2020. Deadline for payments of the participation fee is February 20, 2020.  
•    The capacity of the workshop is very limited.
•    Time: 10:00–15:00 with 20-minute coffee break
•    Price: CZK 4,000 for 4 days
•    Where: Archa Theatre Studio, Zlatnická 8, Prague 1

 

More about workshop :
Blanka Žižka: The Body Knows

Students in The Thinking Body workshop will work with Wilma artistic director Blanka Zizka, experiencing and learning from the techniques that have been in development with the Hothouse Company over the last nine years.  

Voice inside the body - actors will experience their voice as it exists inside their full body, targeting different resonators and modes of vocal production that will allow them to find the full potential for the many voices they carry within them.  Through the voice, they will discover whole worlds of openness, vulnerability, joy, terror, delight, and connect to the deep, ancient emotional memory that lives inside them.

Taking support - actors will learn to take support from the world around them in their work.  Too often we think of actors acting alone, communicating to the world from an island of self.  With the Thinking Body, students learn to take and give support between the ensemble of actors around them, the room they are performing in - to truly engage in a dynamic dialogue with their environment that will unleash profound and moving performances.
 
Working with the back - in our society we tend to prioritize thinking frontally and horizontally, controlling the world around us with language and opinion.  Thinking Body techniques encourage actors to work vertically and with the back.  The back of the body has a truly amazing capacity to listen deeply to the world, to take it in without the over-thought judgment of the socialized self, and respond in a deep, immediate and truthful way.  Working back to back with other actors, and engaging the back to engage with the space and the text, actors will learn new levels of immediacy and discover unexpected responses.

Gibberish: moving from sound to text - In traditional rehearsal, we often start with discussing and analyzing the text and then performing our OPINION of the text.  Our training focuses on trying to understand the primary emotion that the world and actions of the play derive from, and learning to discover and embody THAT as the starting point from which the rest of the world is DISCOVERED, rather than DECIDED. Gibberish exercises help the actor bypass the judgment and control of the mind, and surrender to the flow of the moment  and the situation.  Working with non-textual improvised sounds and language, gibberish is often paired with back-to-back exercises, providing a visceral experience of surrender to the moment, the partner, the room, the situation.

Cicely Berry text work - once ideas of taking support, surrendering, and listening are active in the room, we begin to work with text.  The Thinking Body takes inspiration from the text work of Cicely Berry, voice director for the Royal Shakespeare Company for nearly 40 years and longtime collaborator of Peter Brook .  Her work is to make the text PHYSICAL, to discover its origins inside the body and make it a full expression of the emotional life of the actor.  Actors learn to take support from and surrender to the score of the text, as they have been with their partners and the room - to follow the punctuation and rhythms of a playwright’s language beyond preconceived notions of character and action.

The workshop will be led in both Czech and English. Czech students will work with Czech texts and foreign students with English texts.

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