Breath is life.
When you walk on a beach, don’t you just “ahh!”
Without breath we cannot receive.
Explore for yourself how you receive and give action when you hold your breath.
What do you feel? Do you feel fluid? Do you feel SPONTANEOUS?
Or do you feel the opposite?
As you explore your characters, practice movement exercises that create the mind/body/spirit connections you need to practice breath.
I took part in a Michael Chekhov workshop taught by Joanne Merlin a few weeks ago, and relished her ball exercise because it was the perfect way to establish these connections.
I have played the ball tossing game with students before using handballs or balled up pieces of paper, but in the workshop we used hacky sacks, and the weight of the ball added a lovely heft to the giving and the receiving that a handball or balled up paper never did for me. As I caught the weighted hacky sack I felt the mass of the ball/the weight of the action and the language my partner sent to me in my entire body, and it changed my connection not only with the text but with my partner. As I received the sack I inhaled, and I through the sack I exhaled. When I tried to reverse the breathing pattern, my body felt uncomfortable (my hips and shoulders ached). The movement and breath – bringing my dominant arm behind me, stepping back on the corresponding leg on the inhale, exhaling as I swept my dominant arm forward and step forward with the corresponding arm – energized me. As I caught the ball – I felt my self exhale. Once again, energy coursed through me.
To throw the ball=give for the thrower = receiver for the catcher
Energy flowing between partners….
Isn’t that what acting is about?
Try this exercise.
You can find these Duncan juggling balls pictured below on Amazon. I like them because they have a little more weight than a hacky sack.