Documentation Team / Eastern Meeting Place: conversations 4
Eastern Meeting-place
Documentation Team Conversations
(Not yet corrected and edited.)

Participants: Antonio Attisani, Mario Biagini, Jelena Kovacevic, Grzegorz Ziolkowski, Mirjana (Mira) Vukovic + members of Workcenter as listeners (Marie, Pei Hwee, Elisa, Cecile, Francesc).

Dur. 1.30h

The participants speak together about the possibility of sharing the recordings of the registrations of the conversations or short reports from the daily topics

Mario: I know that Jelena wanted to go back to the topic of perception. From my side I would like to know you have observations on the pieces from the participants which started from a workable basis and developed

Grzegorz: I have technical questions: at the beginning you gave the translation from Greek of some texts from propositions, is it because they asked?

Mario: No, because I was thinking that it would be good to know the text. Other texts we didn’t translated because they we

Grzegorz: Certain texts appeared several times, is it because you handed the same texts to different people

G: Why? Didn’t they have their texts?

M: yes they had but some texts for us were not interesting to work on

G: Were they asked to prepare songs?

M: No

G: Did the participants know from before that some of them would work with directors and some individually?

M: Almost everybody worked individually. Some people worked with directors from the participants, others worked helped by somebody from our team. The majority of individual work was done by the participants without somebody watching, just with simple indications given by us.

G: Why it wasn’t said about that to us?

M: There is not a specific reason. We didn’t see the reason to explain the procedure in the working situation

G: Was the space for each presentation chosen by the participants or not?

M: If they had special needs it was chosen by them, if not we decided the space.

G: Were the directors already prepared with an etude or not?

M: No, they weren’t. This could be a possibility to save time in a situation like this.

G: Some of them I think had prepared something before

M: Maybe. Who you think was preparing something before?

Francesc: Maybe Andonis

M: No, his creation was done here
Also the actors didn’t choose the directors to work with

G: On which basis did you choose the groups of actors for the director?

M: On the base of language skills and availability, depending on the fact specific actors were already busy with individual propositions or with other directors. And we tried to make some balance putting for example in a group one person who can sing, somebody who can clearly speak.

G: Could the actors change different directors for the same piece?

M: No because the point was to try to arrive fast to same basic material that could develop.

Mira: individual actors had three presentations?

M: I think so

Elisa: I think everybody had three presentations except from the last two groups created: they had only two presentations

G: I haven’t seen on purpose any of the rehearsals of the groups, I wanted to see only the results of the work. Many of them changed. In many cases the presentations were much more clear to understand and to follow and to be with. Sometimes is not only question of believing and not believing, it is something that I can say “I am with you with my attention” (concentration and grabbing the attention). The basic change that helped the presentations is the fact that they were getting rid of what was not necessary. For example in the presentation of Simon.
(Describes the piece of Simon)

M: I wrote down about it: maybe in the twentieth presentation something will happen… The changes were very slow, maybe because it is a different way of working from what Simon usually does. In your notes of yesterday Antonio there was the question if somebody can’t do our work is it impossible for them to be good actors? I think not because there are many good actors, for example, who can’t sing at all. But also there are some pitiless tests for professionality, with simple elements of the work. For example Grotowski spoke in one text about Yanvalou as a test for professionality: when the person puts the stress on the beat when the foot is touching the floor it is a sign of dilettantism. The stress should be when the foot is lifted.

G: What do you do with this kind of actors?

M: I don’t do anything because I don’t work with them. It is maybe possible even for somebody without feet to do this job, but it is very rare and dangerous. Like for somebody who is disfigured it could be very difficult to do this job

G: Does it mean that this person should not be actor?

M: I don’t know it depends on his desire.

Antonio: Can you understand if somebody can or not be an actor?

M: It is very difficult to say to somebody that he can be an actor. It is more easy to see when a person has chosen the wrong job. It is difficult to see a gift it is more easy to see when there is no talent. One can say his opinion, but if the person has very strong desire will find the way to become actor, like Stanislavskij.

Mira: I noticed that Riccardo’s work was very changed it was very interesting. Now it is much better..

M: Why?

Mira: In the beginning he was very stiff and it was visible that he suffered a lot. And now he is very open and funny in the piece.

M: About the work of Riccardo an observation: about laughter from observers, sometimes they are laughter that you can’t stop, other times there are laughter from collegues that are reactions to stupidity, it means that also your work will become stupid.

Mira: I didn’t feel the laughter were stupid

M: Not in the case of Riccardo. Francesc and Riccardo worked very well together, they really worked with some drive.

Mira speaks about the work of Nhandan and Jade. It is not clear for the person who writes the report what she wants to say.

Mario explains the process of work of Nhandan with Jade according to the indications given from Mario and Thomas. Topics: Clarity of pronunciation of text; looking for different voices (peakok and lion voices); problem of movements from Jade which were too peripherical.

Jelena: it was very interesting for me to see Jade doing the chantings. For me the first time was more spontaneous of the last time. This morning the body was very stiff and in opposition with the voice

Mario: This last time they showed three etudes, they didn’t arrive to create structured. I don’t agree with you. The first time the chantings were completely not interesting, after I started to listen to them.

G: I was wondering if we are able at all to make any objective judgment about the work we have seen. There works mostly concentrated on texts, or songs, or situations. It is difficult to compare them. Also we don’t know the awareness of the basic elements of the work when the participants arrived. I can anyway say that for me the most potent were the presentations where the person showed that the actors were aware of the basic element of work and they able to decontestualize them in the clear way that they were visible. Those responses who followed your way of work and were not their own way of work were much less interesting.

M: Who followed? I didn’t see they followed

Marie: those who did bad imitation…

G: Like does who use fake subtility, fake intimacy, fake atmosphere…

M: We wanted to suggest that for us what can work is to keep digging in the same spot. To keep one structure and develop it with very simple guide lines. But the main problems for different persons are very different. (Speak about different problems). From what I saw I am not optimistic on the learning of basic elements of craft.

G: Do you think that you as work team can take any idea of how to change the workshop if you are not satisfied of the results?

M: I think that in this situations a person can have a taste of another way of working and meet other persons, at least for me it is important.
The basic elements of craft are not intuitions that you get in 1 hour, it will take years to embody them.
I remember Grotowski beating me because I was not doing actions but activities. Then one day I could do actions for the first time and I understood, but do redo it it took me months. It is not being pessimistic but realistic.

Gr and Mario speak of the understanding of the book of Thomas by actors who read it. Mario tells about the experience of a group we had exchange of work with who completely misunderstood the book, and they were not even doing fully what they misunderstood, they were becoming monsters

A: Do you think that people here read anything from Stanislavski? Do they know about physical actions?

M: It is a good question. Maybe the Russian participants.

Jelena: Have you been speaking with all participants after first presentation?

M: Yes. With the individual actions we spoke with the actors. In the case of groups we were speaking only with the directors. When the was a director working with one person we spoke with one and the other.

Jelena speaks and asks about what possibilities the participants will have to meet the Workcenter again in practical work, because it was clear that for some of them the experience was very fruitful. Mario responds that they should write to Workcenter if they want to work with W. again.
About Documentation Team she needs to clarify their position. Who is Doc Team? Is it possible to do some observations about the work done?

Mario and Antonio suggest individual meetings about the question.

Jelena asks about the case of Ester who only took part in the first Doc team conv. She stresses the importance of continuity of presence to the activities of the team.