Somerset Times

Zen Zen Zo Theatre Company Visit

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term Four, 2017

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A theatre workshop proved challenging for the Year 9 and 10 Drama students who participated. They explored abstract representations of ideas through viewpoints, improvisation and architecture.

On Friday 20 October Drama students took part in a workshop run by Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre Company, from Brisbane. From the start we all knew that it was going to be a very physical workshop. We started off by doing a warm-up game called Knife and Fork, where we had to run around the entire room and when Franki and Lauren (workshop leaders) called out a number we had to get into groups of that number and create a shape, however we were not allowed to talk.

Once we completed that activity, we moved onto the stage and discussed three important areas of physical theatre, Architecture, Spatial Relationships and Shape. Once we had been educated, we moved into three groups to work on these areas. Within these groups, we created three separate tableau’s displaying emotions – anger, joy and guilt. All of the groups were able to develop different interpretations of these emotions through body shape, with our focus to display the meaning as a whole ensemble, rather than developing a story line.

After sharing our shapes with one another, Franki showed us the importance of manipulating architecture throughout a physical theatre performance in three ways – literal, abstract, and changed context. Within our three groups we were then asked to manipulate these three architectural elements to create our own performance. This performance had to incorporate one tableau, and two moving scenes. We were then given a title, in our allocated groups, to base our performances on. These were, Looking into the Light, Into the Darkness and Love is Lost. In our groups, we collaborated on a time constraint of six-minutes to develop our student devised performances; however, as the workshop came to a close, only one of the three groups were able to perform.

Our group performed Into the Light, which demonstrated the struggle of ‘tormented’ characters to get to a possessive light. We chose to use the architectural space of a staircase not only to show the distinct hierarchy between the rest of the group and the character who got entranced towards the powerful light, but also to distinctively show the effect of the light. Using physical theatre, we contrasted our movements, showing the before and after effect of being exposed to this light. Usually, the context of ‘light’ has a positive connotation of being angelic and pure, however we took a negative turn on this context, showing the audience a negative and manipulative light.

Without a doubt, this workshop has taught our Drama class the power physical theatre has to create meaning when devising theatre. On behalf of Year 9 and 10 Drama students, we would like to thank Franki and Lauren for delivering such an incredible and informative workshop, and we look forward to incorporating our learning into future performances.

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