As a starting point for engaging with the concept of Movement, it is useful to think about your own relationships to movement in the everyday, as well as an embodied aspect of theatrical production and reception. The following questions are a guide:
- Pause for a moment and observe everything that is moving inside you and around you, whether it is the movement of your breathing or the passing of a car, or something even more ambient. What are the effects of movement happening whether or not we consciously attend to it, and how do you locate the phenomena of movement that most interest you?
- What is the difference between a leaf falling from a tree and the movement of running to catch a bus? Think about the momentum involved in these two movements, and consider what quality of resistance exists in both instances and what resistance – forces operating on the mass of an object – does to its pathway. How could you use the comparison between a movement in ‘nature’ and a movement of the ‘social’ to think about Aristotle’s distinction between actuality and potentiality?
- What sort of techniques have you acquired for expert movement in your life? You might think of daily techniques? Or sporting techniques, or social techniques? Have you undertaken any particularly movement training, if so how has it impacted on your response to movement in theatre? Do you take most pleasure in watching highly trained theatre actors or are you interested in bodies that move without recognisable movement vocabularies? An activity here is to keep a log of ‘training’ (interpreted widely as something that habituates you) that you undertake in one facet of your life over the course of a week and reflect upon its role in your body and attitude towards life. This topic can also be used for discussion.
- Take a recent theatre work you’ve seen and think about the differences in the movement (use of space and timing) of individuals compared to the ensemble or group as a whole? In what sense does movement in this production include other objects in motion on stage, even including scene changes. To what extent does choreographed movement seem to determine the formal structures of a theatre production? You can try to sketch or plot the number of movement transitions in a short scene.
- From the moment a performance begins to its conclusion, the spectator is attending to movement whether consciously or not. What sensory aspects of your response are most activated – visual, haptic, kinesthetic, auditory – by movement at the theatre?