Workshops in Autumn 2019

I’m thrilled to announce the two up-coming workshops I’m leading. Both deal with the themes that have been at the core of my artistic life: connection and presence. I believe and know that they transform the way we communicate with one another in a theatrical space. So, let’s practice together, shall we? 😊 The details are below. Register early. Hope to see you there!

1. The Body That Speaks 

Dates and times: 
August 5-8, Mon, Wed-Thu, August 12 & 14, Mon & Wed, 10:00-15:00

Place: Haapaniemenkatu 6, Theatre Academy, room 709

Course Fee: 170,00 €, for student 140,00 €

Objective and content: 
In this course, the student will learn the basics of a few physical training methods: Suzuki Method of Actor Training, Viewpoints, and Hino Method (a method based in classic Japanese martial arts) to build the corporeal foundation for greater expressivity and connectivity on stage. The key words in learning are Listening, Focus, Stillness, Sensitivity, Drive and Attitude. Through careful, diligent practice, the student will develop an invaluable asset as a performing artist, the body of presence.

Credits: 2 ECTS given by Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulu (Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)

More info and registration: https://www.kesayliopistohki.fi/en/kurssit/kategoria/art-and-motion-en/theatre-and-drama-en-12901/?show=future

Suzuki Method

2. The Body of Presence- corporeal inquiry into the mysterious core of performing arts 

Date and Time:

20.9 (Fri) 18:00-21:00

21.9 (Sat) 10:00-17:00 (including 1h lunch break)

22.9 (Sun) 10:00-17:00 (including 1h lunch break)

Place: Teatteri metamorfoosi / Point Fixe (Suvilahdenkatu 10 A 408, 00500 Helsinki

Fee: 149€

Registration: https://www.metamorfoosi.com/koulutus/ilmoittautumislomake-registratio/#token-234781

DESCRIPTION
“Presence” is necessary for a performer on the stage. It is something that gives substance and depth to the experience of the audience. And yet, presence is one of the most elusive, hard-to-grasp concepts if we try to define exactly what it is. And it is often mixed with the natural talent and ability of the performer; it’s a matter of having it or not having it.

In this workshop, however, we approach presence as a practicable element in physical training. Is there any corporeal focal point(s) that contributes to stronger presence? If so, how can we improve or develop them with our bodies? We will be using two methods (Suzuki Method and Viewpoints) as the main tool to investigate what it takes for a performer to be present on the stage. Also Hino Method will be used as a supplementary tool to investigate the body itself. The participants will gain personalized embodied knowledge about presence that is applicable to their respective fields. 

Previous experience in those methods is recommended but not necessary. Wear movable clothing. Bring water bottle. 

Brief description of the methods
Viewpoints is an improvisational technique of movement originated by an American choreographer Mary Overlie and later adapted to theatre by Anne Bogart, Tina Landau, and SITI Company. The technique provides inspiring and yet practical vocabulary to investigate and explore time and space in a performative setting and allows ensemble performing to happen quickly and organically.

Suzuki Method of Actor Training is a physical training system for actors founded and developed by a Japanese theatre director Tadashi Suzuki (1939- ) and his company Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT). This rigorous method brings better concentration, breath control, and energy production to those who practice it. Its ultimate purpose is to restore the innate expressivity in the performer’s body.

Hino Method is a physical training method developed by a Japanese martial arts master Akira Hino (1948- ). The method is rooted in in Hino’s study of the essence of Japanese classic martial arts. It is about developing the body to its full potential without relying on muscle strength and refining bodily intelligence. 

Viewpoints
Hino Method

Collaboration with musicians

I had two great opportunities to collaborate with two distinguished musicians in July and August.

In July, I worked with accordionist Timo Kinnunen and saxophonist and flutist Biggi Vinkeloe. They invited me to join in their opening concert for their tour titled Ave, Mare Boreale! as a guest performer.

It happened in a beautiful wooden house in Pikisaari, Oulu in the warm evening of July 8.  Timo and Biggie played composed and improvised numbers. I recited Japanese and English poems about the sea and moved along with Timo and Biggi’s playing most of the time. I even had a few solos where I sang a traditional Japanese song and a tongue twister text, while Timo and Biggie supported me musically in the background.

Nerve-wracking it was because I didn’t know their music well and what I would do with it exactly before the concert. But improvising with musicians who knew what they were doing was liberating and fun. They listened to me and my movement so well that they could go with whatever I did or said. In return I got inspired by their playing on the spot and started to do something totally unplanned, but still suited the flow of the music.

Also, I need to mention the beautiful bottle installation by visual artists Helena Kaikkonen, Leena Kangas & Päivi Pussila at the concert place. I performed with it in many moments during the concert. With powerful music, it felt natural for me to include the installation as part of the whole show. Yet another delightful inspiration!

Thank you, Timo, Biggie, Helena, Leena and Päivi for an unforgettable evening!

Here are some pictures from the concert:

Timo Kinnunen, Biggi Vinkeloe and me. Photo: Marcos Katz

Photo: Marcos Katz

Timo Kinnunen and me. Photo: Marcos Katz

Keltainen talo, Pikisaari, Oulu. Photo by Päivi Pussila

::::::

And my collaboration with musicians continued. In the beginning of August, I traveled to Kalajoki, Finland to perform with four musicians: accordionist Timo Kinnunen, harpist Anne-Marie O’Farrell, cellist Adrian Mantu, conductor, recorder and Baroque flute player Janos Bali. Timo organized a 3-day monimusic festival titled Camus Calla 2018 where different genres and forms of art and music are mixed to create new music. I participated in two performances: one concert at the Kalajoki church and an experimental concert at Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani.

The first concert was mostly about classical music with some improvisational, experimental twists. The concert at the hotel incorporated films into musical improvisation. For both concerts, I had to jump in as an actor without any substantial rehearsal time with the musicians beforehand. So, what I did was almost completely improvised on the spot. But somehow it worked, thanks to the skilled musicians. And I had a lot of fun performing with them.

Here are a few photos from the concerts:

Kalajoki Church.

From left, Timo Kinnunen, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, me, Adrian Mantu, Janos Bali.

At Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani. From left: Timo Kinnunen, Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Janos Bali, me, Arto Nauha (light & sound) and Adrian Mantu.

I learned tremendously from how the musicians worked together and improvised with others. I was used to working in theatre projects, where we take a lot of time to build and create a story together. But my collaboration with musicians was very different from that. They trust each other’s ability to improvise as a given and play their instruments based in feeling, backed by solid skills. They often bypass logic and work instinctively, so the speed of working is quite fast.  So, I also had to trust my ability to improvise with them and tried my best to feel “the flow” they were feeling.

What an experience I had. Thank you!