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Oct 03

The Education of an Ensemble

Yesterday was the Yokohama Theatre Ensemble’s first all-day rehearsal (10:00 – 18:00). I had convinced ESL Theatre Project’s Lei Sadakari and voice instructor Graig Russell to come in and run some sessions for us.

 

Lei’s morning session consisted of a movement workshop, using group yoga poses and exercises to get us moving our bodies in new ways. Lei is constantly training overseas to learn new skills, so it was great to have her come in and share those with us. I am constantly surprised, however, about how I seem to be in better shape than the other ensemble members, despite being significantly older (and fatter) than most of them. Maybe they’re just pretending to be out of breath to make me feel better?

 

The afternoon session, run by Graig, was a voice class. He took the ensemble (and Lei, who stayed to participate) through the basics of making noise. I’ve been working with Graig on and off for a couple of years now. He was my assistant director on William Shakespeare’s R3, and helped with voice training on that show as well. Since then he’s come in to help out on other projects, and taught the first Ytheatre Voice workshop earlier this year, and he’s always done great work. It was amazing seeing him fly through yesterday’s training session, though. He’s really evolved his teaching style into something natural and engaging. I think he’s finally found the headspace of being a teacher; something that I have yet to master.

 

One problem we continue to have is tardiness and absence. There are still a few of us with commitments that predate the creation of the ensemble, but even these are sometimes communicated at the very last minute, and thus, we need to come up with a solution together to try to curb the absentee/lateness problem.

 

The kind of work we’re doing requires that we’re all present and ready-to-go, so it’s much more important to us than a normal group of performers working on a show. We’ll discuss this the next time we all meet, and I’m sure we’ll come up with a solution together.

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