Luxembourg European Annual Theatre Summer School
GRAEME DU FRESNE
Course title: Calendar Notes
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest. “I always say, keep a diary and someday it'll keep you.”- Mae West
The course will be split into two sections. The first will look at songs about diaries. There will be opportunities for some solo singing as confidence builds. Alternatively, participants can choose to remain in the ensemble if they don’t feel able to expose their solo voice to the supportive and loving environment of Clairefontaine. No pressure!!. The songs may include: DIARY by BREAD, DEAR DIARY by the MOODY BLUES, and from a new British musical, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, we will be looking at THE DIARY SONG by STEVE EDIS. In section two we will take some soldiers’ diaries from World War One. We are of course 100 years on from the war ending. We’ll look at some British and German diaries with a view to adapting them into songs. We will look at some songwriting structures and forms, create lyrics and melodies. I will be bringing some basic musical templates ready for adapting into the new material. We will be able to create songs in styles ranging from 1920’s,30’s,40’s Popular music, Music Hall, and various types of Musical Theatre including rapping in the style of HAMILTON.
Course Title: The Archive Inside
We are all natural storytellers. Constantly dramatising our own lives in order to communicate more effectively and get what we want. So we will start the writing process by drawing on the source material that already exists within all of us. This does not mean sharing deeply held beliefs or personal experience but accessing the living archive of experience that we are all made up of. From here we can draw out the fundamental principles of storytelling, which will elevate everyday tales to the realm of the epic. We will also look at source material from the national chroniclers of our daily lives - using newspaper reports to prompt the question ‘whose story is it?’ As well as those of the past - using the work of historical diarists to interrogate how to turn prose into drama. Suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to those who have had their work professionally produced. The ultimate aim is to dispel the fear of a blank page, and introduce a range of tools, prompts, and exercises to support future scribblings.
Course title: Recycle Your Heart
‘Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key’ – Fiona Apple
‘Herbert was worried that Maude would notice his demons’ John Lurie, Artist and Lounge Lizard
Have you ever come across an open diary? Would you dive in or would you walk away and wish you had? The inspiration for this course is a practice many artists have of not leaving uncomfortable real life events to writhe inside a closed journal, but instead, turning them into art – often with a delicious wry humour and a liberating sense of catharsis. 'Turn your demons into art, your shadow into a friend, your fear into fuel, your failures into teachers, your weaknesses into reasons to keep fighting. Don’t waste your pain. Recycle your heart.' - Andrea Balt. Don’t panic because you don’t need to expose your own personal difficult moments. We will explore and create work using lyrics as text of or being by inspired by the themes in the songs of three artists: ‘lyric genius’ Aimee Mann, the outspoken Fiona Apple and the unconventional film star and musical artist Charlotte Gainsbourg. These songs and albums cover a good range of sink-your-teeth-into subject matter often portrayed with self-scathing honesty. Songs with titles such as 'Save Me', 'Momentum', 'Build that Wall', and 'Driving Sideways' present us with a rich field of life situations and dilemmas, where expression of human vulnerability and imperfection can be seen as a strength. We will also work with creative prompts from Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies card deck, and with Caroline Myss’s archetype cards. We’ll use the songs as jumping off points or as texts in their own right. As for skills involved: devising and speaking poetry powerfully. There is room for fragments of creative writing to be generated and possibly worked as text.
Course Title: Scene Study
Enter Mrs. Anne Putnam. She is a twisted soul of 45, a death-ridden woman, haunted by dreams. – Arthur Miller, The Crucible
A society built on dreams of a better future descends into a nightmare of denunciation and death in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. It is a play where the boundaries between consciousness and sleep and memory and hallucination are challenged when the dreams of a community turn very sour. Using The Crucible as our text we will be looking at how dreams, the ones when asleep and the ones of hope and aspiration for a future, are used/abused or twisted by a community in crisis. We will explore scenes from the play building an understanding of its world, to reveal how knowing the given circumstances of the play can really help the actor construct the needs of the character.
In a trusting and open environment, we will also be breaking down the text into manageable objectives, working to understand the needs of the character, exploring exercises in personalising the character’s world view, and developing ways of listening to and receiving from other actors in the space. Physical embodiment, pursing objectives, discovering physical actions, and always working to find truth in dynamic and innovative ways will be key aspects of the course.
We will look at acting techniques, at personalising the character’s situation, at understanding the world of the play, at enacting intentions and working meaningful objectives in the space. How to stay present, and support another actor in the space. Physical impulses, and the embodiment of character physicality.
If you have a copy of The Crucible it would be handy to bring it along with you.