Actors are like houses. Some of them show a great number of details of their facades in all their architectural and decorative splendour. Others open their doors and windows and let us enter inside.
FIELD OF PRACTICE
Various approaches to actor training and work techniques. The work focuses on basic elements of acting craft and is permeated with the spirit of play – of being playful according to the basic meaning of the term, that is of being joyful, warm-hearted, and naughty.
Group games with the principal aim of making the participants more responsive and sensitive to the integrity of the group. They also build awareness of the body and quickness of response.
It is devoted to:
• taking care of the space
• spatial balancing in movement
• creating a partnership with the space.
In psychology a state of joyful engagement when the body collaborates with the mind as a harmonized and united whole is described by the term ‘flow.’ In the work of ATIS Flow is a practice which focuses on lightness of action, on its fluidity and coordination with breath and word. It involves several precise elements (physical actions) which help to harmonize breath, body and voice. At an advanced level, one works on Flow in the framework of improvisations which allow to build a bridge between the training and the domains of imagination, composition and creation.
The study of various rhythmical patterns and structures, performed within a group.
The study of actions based on arithmetic and geometry, which aims to sharpen the participants’ awareness of:
• directions in the space
• relations between partners
• relations between protagonist/s and group (chorus) members.
Work with different types of iconography which affect the actor’s physicality, the way of breathing and moving, the mode with which s/he interconnects with others and finally the way s/he speaks. Participants compose their scores (movement patterns) using photographs, images, drawings as points of departure. They devise their own choreographies and interrelate or share them with others.
The approach to the text ‘from the outside,’ which takes as points of departure sonorous qualities and visual aspects of the words as well as various ways of their execution.
They are focused on contrasted qualities of movement and behaviour and on exploration of their potential for comic acting. The aim of individual, pair and group contrast improvisations is to open the passageway to the field of creativity.
They are studies of different types of impersonations (for example: animal or monster) and their potential for becoming acting and for playing grotesque or surreal characters.
It serves to welcome the new day with group effort. It ‘starts the engine’ and prepares you for another working day. Releasing the breathing is an essential element of running together. Sessions on rhythms are interwoven into the run, which is transformed into a rhythmical composition.
They are practised individually, in pairs and in a group, and teach you how to be present and rooted in your own body. They serve to:
• release mental blocks and breathing
• build trust in oneself and others, and
• acknowledge the role of assisting your partners.
The warrior attitude
It is a practice aimed to reinforce awareness and swiftness of response in combat situations. For combat, sticks and other weapons are invited.
spelled also ‘Qigong’ is described as ‘a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi ) or what has been translated as “intrinsic life energy.” Typically a qigong practice involves rhythmic breathing coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movements, a calm mindful state, and visualization of guiding qi through the body.’ In theatre practice, chi kung may help on many levels, which include:
• coordination of inner and outer aspects of the actor’s presence
• awareness of breathing
• cooling down after more energetic performance.
Practical recognition of inner and outer silence as the source of sounds, speech and singing. This practice sharpens perception and teaches how to be present, listen and hear.
Here different currents of work intermingle and feed each other. It helps to uncover participants’ creative potentialities, qualities and dimensions which may be hidden or unknown – even to the participants themselves.
A study of composition which helps to situate participants’ work in space and make them aware – in a practical way – that any theatre scene is a journey which does not allow for inertia and remaining on the same energy level.
A number of partnership actions which help to open up to the other person and to seek harmony in interaction – by listening to the partner. The work refocuses the performer from her/himself to the person with whom s/he interacts. Thanks to mutual listening, leading and coordination, the actions may take the form of a ‘danced dialogue’ which embraces different dimensions of the interpersonal encounter.
Group spatial compositions
They are supported by the music of Motion Trio, a Polish group of accordionists. The compositions study the dichotomy of individual obedience to and rebellion against organized and structured systems represented by group formations.
The practice helps to recognise that voice is an extension of the body, that it is rooted in it and related with it. It opens receptiveness and erases individual preconceptions about one’s own vocal possibilities.
The dusk running together has its roots in the practices of Gardzienice Theatre. Here, it is considered to be a musical composition which invites organic sounds of humans such as breathing and stomping and the sounds of nature. Dusk runs are practised along the forest paths and with the forest as the main partner for the running people. The run
• helps to differentiate between pulse and rhythm
• sharpens perception, especially hearing
• releases breathing and
• tunes for singing.
The traditional songs are essential elements of culture and repositories of human emotions, but above all – they are partners in dialogues with ourselves, with others and with our surrounding. Communing with songs enables us to abandon the notion of ‘I sing’ and welcome – ‘I am sung.’ In the work, traditional songs from participants’ backgrounds are welcomed.
Individual, partner or group miniature (up to 10 minutes), precise and repeatable compositions of texts, songs, dances, actions, music, etc. They are studies of specific issues related to the intersection of training and performance – melting pots where the work reaches its strongest dynamics and tempo.
Participants and work leaders share their inspirations and work experiences. The encounters may take the form of:
• story-telling around film and music fragments
• work demonstrations
• work sessions led by the participants.
It is a session focused on aspects of the work which participants would like to return to, drill into and deepen.
For the practical study of contemporary methodologies of actor training. They aim to examine in a practical way acting techniques and training methods implemented by influential contemporary directors and pedagogues. Participants are confronted with the fundamental acting approaches of:
• Jerzy Grotowski and Zygmunt Molik (Body-voice)
• Włodzimierz Staniewski and Gardzienice (Mutuality).
FIELD OF THEORY
1) On G.I. Gurdjieff’s movements which play a double role in his teaching; on the one hand they express and actualize principles he pointed to – the principles which govern processes of the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (human being), on the other – exercises and dances are a tool for work on human awareness and consciousness.
2) On theatre born from ‘the spirit of music’ (F. Nietzsche’s term), i.e. on works of contemporary experimental theatre artists who consider(ed) singing of traditional songs as the essence of their practices. The examples, presented and contextualised, include:
• Jerzy Grotowski’s art as vehicle
• Centre for Theatre Practices Gardzienice and companies inspired by its practice
• Maisternia Pisni (Ukraine), Lalish Theaterlabor (Kurdistan/Austria), the Węgajty Theatre and Schola of Węgajty (Poland).
3) On the key contemporary Polish theatres, figures, events and ideas. Presentation and analysis of their works:
• Polish theatre: tradition of trans/formation
• Jerzy Grotowski and the Teatr Laboratorium
• Włodzimierz Staniewski’s Centre for Theatre Practices Gardzienice
• Tadeusz Kantor’s Cricot 2
• Teatr Biuro Podróży and other Polish alternative theatres.
4) On the relationship between the martial arts and theatre practices.
1) Actor training strategies of Pandora’s Box (i.e. tapping into a wide range of possibilities) as opposed to Digging a Well (exploration and deepening of a chosen element).
2) Qualities of silence (with reference to Peter Brook’s book Between Two Silences and Philip Gröning’s film Into Great Silence, 2005).
3) Breathing as a base for vocal and movement practices.
4) Relation between craft/art and quality (based on John Wate’s documentary Secrets of the Samurai Sword and Peter Brook’s text Quality and Craft ).
5) Theatre ethics (based on Konstantin Stanislavsky’s text Toward an Ethics for the Theatre).
Consultations on an individual basis devoted to pinpointing specific problems related to the demands of the artistic work.