Our workshop is an art & science practice-based research platform open to international participants. Although the workshop is primarily intended for actors, it is also open to dancers, dramaturgies and theatre directors who are not afraid of interplay challenges.
- working with dynamics of speech and movement
- working with rhythm and rhythmics,
- working on intonation
- elaborating elements of the subject matter
- identifying structure types and developing form
Workshop methods developed by David Gazarov.
The importance of improvisation is great for all the performing arts, wherein we primarily refer to the role of a structured improvisation in the process of the performance artists’ mutual work. In order to improvise we need to have a feeling of structure for what we wish to create during a performance: for example, if anything else, we must «feel time»; will what we perform last a few minutes, one hour or more? The structure is given to us in the form of certain rules of the game, which allow a practically never-ending improvisation on the grounds of «agreed» parameters of mutual game that we chose as a «solid ground» for the creative shift from the structure and «playing around» the structure. This can be a variation on a given theme; it can require “dramaturgical interventions live” from performers (i.e. actors, dancers, jazz musicians, Yoruba storytellers, Improv performers, fado singer-improvisers, even toreadors, for whom we might claim that they improvise to death in a dance with the bull). These interventions might include the development of the theme, insertion or exclusion of motives, expanding and shortening of the text of the performance, «adding to» or «taking away from» the agreed model; then it can be a game related to tempo, where the acceleration or deceleration of the tempo of the same fixed text automatically alters the «interpretation» of the performed. This may include the development of musical, stage, physio-choreographic, physio-acting and dramaturgical-performative motives, as well as their build up with other motives, abandoning the theme and returning to the starting point; construction or deconstruction of the atmosphere and the rules of the «genre» in which the dramatic text or a music piece is written, and the performance of the same text part, music or physical figure «in another key». The performers need to be very well acquainted with the genre in order to be able to improvise within its frame, or to be able to open possibilities for a performance in another genre mode. A structured improvisation enables the performers to create, in real time and in interaction with a partner, a rounded narrative, a music or choreographic «story». The work on a structural improvisation is useful in workshops that connect performance artists in different media, where, for example, acting pairs may enrich their technique by “learning from” an improvisation of a jazz musicians’ duo, who will share with them the laws (and pleasures) of their art, which is simultaneously the art of performance and the art of life. As actors may learn from jazz improvisation how to «dramaturgically conceive» the text they deliver, so the dramaturges may learn about the proportion of flexibility in dramaturgy, when a structure of written text turns into the «dynamic structure» of the performance text. Directors may learn from jazz improvisation how to use, rather than freeze the mutual feedback of all participants in the performance and how to «harness» the improvisation techniques (such as the Viola Spolin techniques) into a mechanism of imagination that exposes the director to a «danger» of changing his outlined director’s solutions. Structured improvisation is a shared pleasure in research of new and unexpected aspects of artistic game, which we are entering because we know the rules. Such a shift in structured improvisation is, at the same time, a confirmation of the structure. Even when it seems that the abandonment of the agreed is complete, this always represents some sort of affirmation of the structure by its negation. It is a commonly held opinion that, to performance artists who are not professional musicians or dancers, music can only provide a «kinetic impulse», but, generally speaking, in the common practice of structured improvisation, the performance artists, both musicians and theater-performers, can learn techniques of achieving ease in a «serious game» and yield to the beauty of shared experience (and respecting agreement, too) in a joint performance. Participating in a workshop of structured improvisation with jazz musicians – whose technique, but also genre awareness is largely dependent upon mastering the improvisational skills based on musical «dramaturgy» – may help artists from other performance media and genres, to set themselves free from the negative effects of narcissism and autism in a joint performance. Improvisation may be highly useful to actors «embodying» the characters of the drama canon, as we can learn from Fiona Banks’ Creative Shakespeare: The Globes Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare, where the English actors enjoy a structured improvisation on familiar parts from Shakespeare’s plays in a working process that precedes a «classical» impersonation approach to Shakespeare’s roles.
Workshop edition 2015:
Conducted by David Gazarov, Saša Nestorovic, & Sibila Petlevski
Participants in the year 2015:
Karmen Sunčana Lovrić
This workshop had been conducted at the University of Zagreb Music Academy
under the framework of Dr Sibila Petlevski, University Professor, the principal
investigator of this project.