Saturday, Nov 25th 2017

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6. Being In Space

How do you fill a space? In writing on a piece of paper, you reveal yourself, not just by what you write, but by how you fill the space. Some people write from edge to edge. Others write only in the center. You are how you fill the space.

When a master makes a table, no nails or scraps of wood are left after he is finished. Everything is used. Everything is clean. Do not go to sleep at night until all the mistakes of the day have been corrected and the space is cleared. When some-thing is left undone or uncorrected, it creates tension. That tension keeps us uneasy until it is fully dealt with. The good carpenter straightens the bent nails.

Space is not a void. It is filled with thoughts, intentions and feelings. We always sense these, even if we don't acknowledge them. The ones not in accord with nature create tension. Wherever it is, tension attracts a kick.

A movement artist must be all eyes. We must learn to see with every pore like the blind. We look with the eyes; we see with the whole body. All the cells in the body have a consciousness and a specific function. There must be eyes in your toes, thighs, and belly. Walk as carefully forwards into the space as you do backwards. Don't walk, but be walked. There is a whole other world present to be experienced. Space awareness is an attunement that must be developed.

When we are in space we are like birds; we establish territories. How can you let the other person be in the space with you? Two people walking toward each other on a street often bump or disrupt their walking when they pass. There is no necessity for this if they simply give space to one another. When you walk, are you aware of the ants and the plants you step on? Do you trip and stub you toes? The feet, too, can learn to see.

At Le Centre du Silence, we do many exercises that develop space awareness quickly. For example, with your eyes closed, you must run across a floor covered with people lying down. . . and you must do this without kicking anyone. Another technique called "immediate replacement" develops the ability to fill a space the instant it is vacated by your partner, and in such a way that the tail of the imaginary line you create in space moves as one with the head of that line. By timing the space and spacing the time, each space is magically filled just as it is emptied. A kind of subtle contagion enflames a group when it perfects this attunement.

We also use sticks to test our alertness and our ability to respond immediately. Sticks let you see the amount of mercury you have in your blood. We roll the sticks in our hands, work combat maneuvers, exchange sticks in mid-air, and jump or duck to avoid getting hit. The body learns confidence and dexterity. It learns how to put only the exact amount of energy needed into motion. One iota of hesitation, fear or uncertainty can make the stick fall. Voila! It smashes your toe. Take care. If you overcompensate on one movement, you won't be ready for the next.

The stick teaches you how not to anticipate. It helps you give up all your expectations. The body and mind must be alert, both awake and quiet. The stick helps teach us that the right time to begin any movement is when all unnecessary movement stops and stillness descends.

In each of us there is a witness or "one who observes." This observer is there whether you are aware of it or not. You begin to be conscious of the observer when you stop your unnecessary movements, are still, and listen to silence. When you allow the observer to watch over you, everything will be all right. Even if you are not conscious of it, it is conscious of you. It is the one who catches the body when it trips. You are always being taken care of.

The Inner Director lives in every cell. It is your double. A technique call "75/25" teaches us to keep the observer always present and occupying 25% of our total being. It stays detached, witnessing, guiding the body. The observer lets us serve an idea, but keeps us from indulging in it. It saves us from accidents and fanaticism. Why doesn't an actor get carried away in a stage fight and really kill another actor? The observer keeps him aware of the truth and the still center within.

Another technique, called "Master of the Situation," teaches a whole group to act as one. It requires the members of the group to be fully conscious of the "one who observes" within themselves. Befriend the observer, and miracles happen!

When you allow your observer to be your director, you start to inhabit a space in a way that is both natural and conscious to you. There is purpose to the way you shape it. You can express eternity in a gesture. When your observer is always present, you begin to store up archetypes. In your storehouse are images common to human beings throughout the ages that provide the basis for a powerfully expressive common language of movement.

Speaking and thinking in archetypes and symbols also brings your thoughts and expressions to a level that is beyond linear. It breaks the logic of linear thinking. You sit peace fully and watch the train of thoughts go by. Suddenly, you jump on something. You choose. You say, "Ah, that's it!" A coalescence occurs. It is an alchemy of the spirit.

You are the laboratory. You are the experiment. You are the alchemist, the artist/scientist. You have to distill the chemicals in order to make the elixir. The more you mix, unify, and distill, the better artist/scientist you are. Use inner awareness. Always speak from the one in you who sees. Find your internal rhythm.

To be a Master of the Here and Now, that is the art of mime. The mime artist makes moments elastic; he squeezes time and elongates space. He studies the "elan" of a movement. He creates a space for something to happen before it happens. His observer keeps the image or happening in mind, and his body reflects that image. He fills space according to his awareness, and he shapes space according to his sensitivity. When he is finished, his workshop is clean. Space has been filled with meaning.

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."

 

- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

Contact us

Le Centre Du Silence
P.O. Box 745
Lafayette, CO 80026

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.