The actors and director started out by discussing the research they had done on each of their characters and the properties of oil they represented. They proceeded to do an exercise to further ground their characters by writing down the characteristics of oil connected to their own specific character.
They then played a game which helped the actors to understand the physical energy of the oil they were playing. How the oil felt and moved and how it mixed with other oils in different scenarios.
The actors were given their characters and their main inner fears, and how they relate to the outer fear of the Grease Yaka.
They were told to put together a file for their characters.
The actors also explored the physical movements related to oil/grease, personalities, physical appearance, action and behavior, words, and speed of the characters.
The actors divided into their group (beauties, fatties etc) and discussed the details of their characters.
Each character was asked to come up with 5 actions to do with their type of grease and their personalities. Then each group had to link those actions together.
They came up with the specific types of oil relate to each character.
The week was spent character building.
The director mainly worked with two actors today to devise a scene. He started by giving them each five different types of physical warm up type exercises to do, such as squats and crunches. He then got the actors to do exercises that complemented each other together, so as to create a level of sexual tension between the actors, while still maintaining the atmosphere of two guys exercising in a gym.
He then combined the sets of exercises in a sequence so that each set flowed into the next smoothly, to create a short scene. The actors tried to create an atmosphere of intense sexual tension, without changing their movements at all. They utilized eye contact and facial expression to do so.
After establishing this scene, the director introduced a new element of phones into the scene. This time, when they ran the scene, the actors were told to periodically check their phones, and seem like they were having other conversations through messaging. This immediately changed the tone of the scene. The previous dynamic of attraction and concentration between the actors was gone, replaced by a discordant, distracted, disconnected feeling instead.
The actors were put in pairs and asked to come up with three scenarios each, of slipperiness and devise short skits.
There were a variety of ideas that came up, ranging from someone running away and trying to scale walls but slipping, to being slid out from under a car as the car falls, to the slipperiness of soap in the shower, to trying to climb a tree or a pole and sliding down.
Afterwards, the actors were asked to choose their two best ideas and push them further. These scenes were used to get into the mindset of greasiness that would go hand in hand with the concept of the play. Establishing scenes like this gives the actors and the director ideas to pull from when putting together the play as a whole.
These exercises helped the actors to understand the type of things they might be doing in their roles in the play, as well as giving people ideas to build on to write the play.
Since October 2013, Stages Theatre Group has been developing an artistes’ training, exchange and exposure programme.
The long-term goal of this programme is to develop a system of holistic development and training for today’s Sri Lankan theatre practitioner, to encourage artistes to invest in themselves in a disciplined way.
We pay attention to training the body and the mind, to developing language skills and stagecraft. As such, we’ve been having regular workshops – where we focus on physical training, experimenting with new techniques of performance, where we interact with professionals outside the theatre on issues of social and political interest, where we meet to read plays and also regular classes to improve our individual language skills.
We are developing this programme as we go along, keeping it flexible in order to best meet the needs of the Sri Lankan theatre artiste.
While access to these workshops is not restricted, we do ask that artistes who wish to join with us are able to make a commitment to regular attendance as we are trying to build on a discipline.
The first phase of this training lasted from October 2013 – March 2014. The next phase will begin in June 2014.
Please contact us on 0094714378178 if you are interested in getting involved in this in any way.
Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardena returns again to lecture our artistes on culture and the sri lankan artiste. To learn more about our lectures for artistes programme click here.
Our sorrow at losing Nadie’s cheerful face and super ideas at all our rehearsals is only tempered by the fact that we now have a branch Down Under. Yay!