Luxembourg European Annual Theatre Summer School
GRAEME DU FRESNE
Graeme Du Fresne: Stories in Song
(Strategies to move a notion into a melody)
“Two of the hardest words in the language to rhyme are life and love. Of all words!” – Stephen Sondheim
“If you're horrible to me, I'm going to write a song about it, and you won't like it. That's how I operate.” – Taylor Swift
Virtually all artists begin a work faced with a blank page, canvas, manuscript, empty, silent recordings and so on. This course will utilise various songwriting strategies intended to ‘break the block’, unlocking inspiration, channelling the inevitable perspiration as we define and develop style, content and form in the writing of songs ….. the craft and the graft of being a songwriter! We will work on various ways to determine the content of the songs including stories from personal experience. It doesn’t have to be a full on dramatic memory or event but certainly something that has a narrative or character potential. Another example could be a song which uses a photograph as a starting point. There will be opportunities to work both individually and in small groups to develop lyrics and I will come armed with musical templates covering a range of styles and genres. However, if anyone has a melody lurking in their head please record it on your phone and e mail it to me prior to summer school beginning. Even if you don’t end up doing the songwriting option we might use your melody for one of the songs.
ACTING, MIME, DEVISING
Peta Lily: All Imaginable Actions
(Learning how mime can improve acting skills)
This class will look at mime and movement – including basic, classic Decroux technique (a wonderful language of articulation in the body). You will also enjoy learning useful illusionary mime techniques and the technique of the more organic, dynamic, 'mime corporeal' work of the Théâtre du Mouvement. We may include some cartoon-style work and some Butoh work.
Why study mime?
Having mime skills gives the actor finesse and quality plus greater ability to create truthful but effective moments onstage more reliably. And as with poetry, mask-work and puppetry, well-performed mime has the power to capture audience’s imagination and be unexpectedly moving. Mime skills give the performer added skill in improvisation and added confidence in performance.
There would be regular improvisation to put the skills to use in devising work.
Background: If you have seen the wonderful film ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’, you will have glimpsed the ‘Father of Modern Mime’, Etienne Decroux, who taught Jean-Louis Barrault whose wonderfully expressive mimetic performance as a Pierrot can be seen in the film. Decroux also taught Marcel Marceau, and Peta Lily’s teacher Desmond Jones. In the 1980’s Lily co-founded Britain’s first all-female Mime troupe who subverted / jettisoned the classic ‘everyman’ mime to approach new subjects and diversify the form with dance, props, masks, new subjects, costumes and text. She went on to study with Théâtre du Mouvement with their more organic and dynamic approach to mime corporel.
Freddie Machin: One Million Tiny Plays About Change
(Harnessing the power of the miniscule)
Chaos theory proposes that even seemingly insignificant events have an impact far beyond their own sphere. This idea is central to creating great drama. The consequence of even the most fleeting of interaction emanates like waves on a pond, changing the global picture, one zinging line of dialogue at a time.
This playwrighting course will harness the power of the miniscule, leading participants towards writing their own tiny moments of explosive drama, which when stitched together, will form a patchwork depiction of our world. The group will learn the fundamental principles of storytelling, character, and dramatic writing in order to create an anthology of tiny plays about change.