Hey joyful followers,
I have been thinking about the concept of shape and the concept of rhythm.
A shape is a posture different from our neutral. Our neutral is the posture we take without thinking about it. If you stand in the middle of the room and don’t try to change anything, that’s your neutral. If you try to embody someone’s neutral, it won’t be neutral for you. It will be, therefore, a shape. A shape helps you to feel what it is like to be someone else, at least physically speaking.
Once you have a taste of being in someone’s skin, it triggers your need to make sense. Your brain is going to ask questions, such as “What the f… are you doing right now? Please stop.” or “Why are you doing something that doesn’t make any sense?” This feeling is familiar to improvisers. It’s a natural reaction when we are in an unknown zone. Unknown ==>no control ==> risk.
At this stage, you haven’t moved yet. You’re just there, motionless, quite conflicted. Because you’re brave and you’re willing to experience what it is to do physical theater, you don’t give up. You are going to move too! That’s when the concept of rhythm enters.
What is a rhythm? I would say it’s a repeating pattern. I’ve noticed that when I use the word rhythm, it’s not always explicit. I need to use other words such as cadence, démarche, pace, tempo, pattern, beat, and even “a movement that you repeat”.
Let’s go back to our neutral. You stand in the middle of the room, then you start to walk without thinking about it. It’s your neutral rhythm. Now, let’s say you walk in the street (if you are allowed to…) and you look at someone’s neutral rhythm. If you try to copy it, it won’t be your neutral. It will feel new, strange, not natural. You can go further by creating a cadence, a démarche, a pace, a tempo of your choice. The rhythm of your arms, the rhythm of your legs, it’s your creativity!
I remember Ira Seidenstein saying “Just take a shape, take a rhythm, and you’ll be fine.” It is a simple instruction, but so hard to do: When you take a shape and give this shape a rhythm, you create a new you. You embody a character. It’s unknown. It’s improv. It’s creativity.
How long you’re going to hold on to this new you? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to make it entertaining? To me, these questions are good problems to have. It means we’ve jumped in the creative pool, and now we try to swim.
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