Labo / Workshops with Stéphanie Lupo
PRACTICE AND RESEARCH IN PERFORMATIVE CREATION
PERSPECTIVES AND FOUNDATIONS
"We are tired of scientific specializations and rationalist intellectualism. We would like to hear about a truth that expands instead of shrinking, that enlightens instead of obscuring, that captures and penetrates the human being to his guts.” C.G. Jung, Life and Soul
“If actors are ready to get on stage to fulfill an act, the act of knowing, if they have this courage and this ability, I will like this theatre. And it will be the same for the audience, because they will be witnesses of a process: the discovery and the access to knowledge by a group of actors.”
Each session revolves around a theme animated by a conflict, concerning both the individual and society. One of the stakes consists in translating these zones of conflict into performative languages. Texts of philosophical or poetic nature, oriented towards finding keys of global comprehension of the human being, act as impulses and inspiration for the work. The dramatization of the text, whatever its origin, is thought as a step in the creative process.These materials are not conceived as spaces where we have roles waiting for us, but rather as possibilities to express hidden truths that we carry inside ourselves and that are waiting to be heard and transformed. The final goal is to obtain a form of expression where, through the alchemy of the act, the conflict is transcended and transmuted into art, a carrier of truth and beauty.
“That one day in an actor's life must come when s/he can hear what s/he has got in her/his heart, what life is when s/he is in the presence of others.”
The workshops are thought as moments of encounters and intense creation. The work is developed as intensive sessions dedicated to research and performative practice through the means of presence, body and voice. An interest for performative practices is intended as a way to create and position oneself as a creative artist around the key notions of necessity, act, speaking up, engagement and audacity. The work is aimed at exploring under various forms the art of presence, and of the poetic, theatrical and performative act, and the living word.
The workshops are based on a practice uniting structured improvisations (inspired by the method of Action analysis or Etudes) and given tasks aimed at developing a language based on the body and on the creation of living visual images. The work is most notably aimed at understanding how to use improvisation in order to tackle a performative writing practice animated by an inner authentic movement. It aims at learning how to generate and direct action, in the context of a monologue, a solo, a dialogue and also how to create a scenic or performative composition in the perspective of an ensemble creation where movement belongs to both individual and collectivity.
"When we say action, which also means movement, we are also talking of the invisible.”
The work is based on a variation of a Russian method called Action analysis or Etude, transmitted by several generations of renown directors and pedagogues from Russia and Eastern Europe.
“The objective of study consists in liberating the actor (from the text and the audience), commented on the subject Anatoli Vassiliev, in order to make a living theatre, an immediate action […]. The text acts in a paradoxical way; working as a mean of immediate communication among men.”
Etude is a rehearsal method based on the principle of rigorous improvisation. Improvisation is conceived as a tool and a step allowing to reveal the invisible material contained in the used text, as well as in the inner life of the creating artist or performer that uses it as a source of inspiration for her/his own creation. It allows to reveal the text of behavior, of sensation, of emotions. It is a proceeding completely dedicated to an inner process. It is based on the discovery and on the listening of the inner movement. It analyses action.
Life on stage, an actual commitment of the person
Improvisation, in this process, leads the actor or performer to tackle her/his work as a written score of her/his own life. It allows to bite into the mystery of giving in to a double that, in actual life, remains buried in fantasy, impossibility, frustration, desire or dream. S/he can even let go of limitations and gain its creative freedom, transgress the limits, give her/himself to life.
The creative personality
“I want to enter the rehearsal room and discover an exceptional personality. I expect a discovery from that personality.”
“When we are unfaithful to our own laws and do not stand up to our own personality, we have missed the meaning of life.”
Protagonist / Figure
In terms of presence and action, we will focus on the notion of Figure, The loving figure writes Barthes in his A Lover's discourse, each explodes and vibrates on its own, he adds, Unruly Protagonist writes Augusto Boal using Thespis, the first playwright, as a model.
DARE THE TRUTH
“But why on earth, you'll most assuredly ask, should men reach a higher conscience in one way or another?” With this question you touch the heart of the problem and the answer is not easy. It is a profession of faith. I think that we needed someone to finally know that this wonderful world of the mountains, of the seas, of the suns and moons, of the Milky Way and of the star nebulae exists. While I was on the Athi Plains in Eastern Africa, standing on a small hill, and I saw appearing wild herds of thousands of pieces, without a noise, revealed by the breath of the primitive world, as they had been doing since the end of time, I had the feeling of being the first man, the first being, the only one knowing that all of this exists. At that moment when I was contemplating it, the world had become and, without that moment, it would never have come into being. Everything has the tendency towards this, only men can fulfill it, and always only the most conscious and evolved human being.” C.G. Jung, Life and Soul
The individual and the community
Several 20th Century thinkers inspired by the evolution of the sciences dealing with the evolution of the human being (psychology, philosophy, tradition, art) seem to believe that every pain, obstacle, difficulty, stagnation at both the individual and the community level are the result of a lack of Consciousness. Many state that every change, before it affects society, must find its origin in the individual.
“What nations do, writes Jung in an article called “The individual and the community”, every individual does it too. Only the changes in the deep attitude of the individuals can cause changes in the psychology of the nation […]. We are, in our most private and subjective lives, not only victims but also artisans of our time. Our time, it's us.”
“We must bring a radical change to the human psyche”, said Indian born philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti.
“Change in our society is of secondary importance, when the individual will change her/his psyche, the world will change.”
Following this spirit and developing his own thought in his own particular way, Alejandro Jodorowski started daring to talk of healing through art. “An art that does not heal is not true” he says. While Jersy Grotowsky spoke of a Total act, he spoke of a poetic and theatrical act as a tool in this process of transformation in which art and life meet one another.
If we stop thinking of the stage as a separate world, of actors as professionals but rather as human beings looking for more insight and consciousness, then we can stop thinking of the work of actors and performers as the creation of isolated prototypes that need to fit in sclerosed patterns, and instead see them as living representatives of pieces of humanity.
Every individual, carrier of a singular history, is in this perspective also the carrier of a unique project to be accomplished in his lifetime. In the oscillation of the originality of her/his individual I, both a past and a potential future in becoming, the individual models the consciousness of the future being through his artistic expression.
Thus, we can imagine that working to develop the potential creator in each of us actually means to use the artistic, poetic and theatrical act as an alchemic process aimed at the mutation of the human being's consciousness, and also at a work engendering the evolution and change of our society.
Theatre as knowing the being
Getting to know ourselves is the greatest adventure worth setting on, and theatre as life's most essential dimension is a privileged tool to achieve this.
A conscious creating artist
It is as though, with the apparition of art action in the middle of 20th century and of mutations in the scenic art forms since then, the living artist has engaged her/himself in a mutation where, replacing the word actor with performer, the artist tends to become first and foremost a creator.
This notion of creator tends to detach itself from the stage and investigates an open field of liberation in which the actor finds his source of primary existence which consists in life in all its forms.
The basic principle is that the great artist is the individual who does not create only in the restricted circle of the professional world, but also a being who has a knowledge of her/himself and can thus be a creator at every moment, in the present of a life where art is not separate from living, but is actually an expression of it.
With self-consciousness, consciousness of one's potential, goals, destiny, past, burden, limits, the goal is to work at developing one's own consciousness, at becoming the creative artists of this consciousness.
Dare the truth
In a time when lies, brutality and violence lead our lives, art should not procrastinate with its potential for truth.
While the last decades have insisted on annihilating the power of those action words carriers of life (love, hope, truth, beauty, divinity, sacred…), art nowadays must be thought as a place that has not been corrupted by consumerism and the economic and political logics of annihilation and moronic numbing imposed by a power subdued to finance.
As creators, we propose to work as protagonists of a living and moving piece, based on the inner life of our beings, which, giving themselves in to their own truth, act as mirrors of the treasure of life.
A positive way through art
The development of the individual consciousness is a way towards the augmentation of the collective consciousness, and the artist, in her/his marginal position, can take on a role of vector through his will at all costs that pushes her/him to let go of conflict trough the act of creation.
Since Nietzsche, passing through Dada, art action, and performance, the actor can no longer be a servile agent to a whatsoever system of production with commercial goals.
We see art as a positive way that reverberates on an experience that is not separate from life. A process that entails dying and being reborn, transfigured, then defining ourselves not according to patterns or categorizing rules, but as a creative power in which the borders between individual and universal, private and social, intimate and collective, human and divine disappear.
An authentic act
Every authentic artistic act born from a deep desire for liberation, and every act, no matter how meaningless it might appear, influences the totality of the world.
The time for sacrifice is obsolete. It binds us to a paradox for the artist, agent of liberation but also prisoner of the point of view of its achievement. The fight itself should be transfigured into a movement of unbroken evidence, vector of an irresistible reflection of opening and joy.